[cifnmedia] Fire rages through Rouleau Industries

  • From: Sean & Kimberly Aaron <cifn@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: "Mark Typlin" <chgo06@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 30 Jul 2004 16:17:56 -0700 (PDT)

Local News 

Fire rages through Rouleau Industries

By BILL GRIMES, Daily News
ALTAMONT - Little information was available this morning on why an Altamont 
factory burned to the ground today.

Firefighters from several area departments were still too busy fighting the 
fire to speculate on the cause of the blaze at Rouleau Industries, owned by 
Mick Rouleau - who was inconsolable as he was being comforted by friends and 
family while seated in a lawn chair across from the burning plant.

The fire apparently began just before 6 a.m. today and flames were still 
shooting up to 30 feet in the air at 8:30 a.m.

"It was pretty spectacular," said the Rev. Bill Veith of St. Paul Lutheran 
Church in Altamont. "It was pretty dangerous, too.

"At one point, the firefighters had to pull back," Veith said.

There were unconfirmed reports of dangerous chemicals in the plant. The plant 
makes wood bleachers seats and recently began manufacturing wood flooring.

The wood and materials used in the manufacturing process helped the fire 
maintain its grip as it moved through the building.

Firefighters were further hampered by problems getting sufficient water to the 

At one point, there were tanker trucks from six different departments shuttling 
water back and forth to the scene, but they appeared to have trouble getting 
water on the fire fast enough to stop its spread. By 8:30, firefighters were 
using bulldozers to move twisted, burned metal from the plant away from where 
the fire was still burning.

Firefighters from several departments helped Altamont firefighters battle the 
blaze. Other departments on the scene included Brownstown, Shumway, Tri-County 
(Beecher City), Farina and St. Elmo.

Veith, a former paramedic, said he gained respect for area firefighters while 
watching them work this morning.

"They really know their stuff," he said. "They really showed great teamwork."

The building is located just west of the Interstate 70 Altamont exit, directly 
alongside the highway. However, the highway remained open throughout the 
morning and there were no reports of evacuations, even though there is a small 
residential subdivision directly north of the plant.

About 20 people, including Rouleau and several of his employees, were watching 
the fire from a grassy area across the road north of the plant.

The plant just recently began a second shift.

Bill Grimes can be reached at 217-347-7151 ext. 132 or 


Sean A. Aaron (CIFN*1)
Central Illinois Fire Network

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