July 24, 2024


Interior Of The Road

UPDATE: Firefighters still looking for second occupant of destroyed Champaign home | Courts-police-fire

UPDATE, 4:55 p.m.:

CHAMPAIGN — Fire officials called on professionals to carefully demolish a southwest Champaign house destroyed by fire early Thursday to see if anyone is inside.

A neighbor saw fire at the home in the 4300 block of Stonebridge Court, which is in the Ironwood subdivision west of Staley Road, shortly after 2 a.m.

Firefighters found heavy smoke and flames coming from the back of the two-story home and quickly called for extra manpower to fight the fire defensively and keep it from spreading to other homes.

Fire department spokesman Randy Smith said two people live in the home but they were uncertain if there was anyone in the two-story house when the fire started. He said they confirmed that one of the occupants was not there but had been unable to learn the whereabouts of the other.

“We are taking the house down piece by piece,” he said Thursday afternoon. “Certain areas are unsafe for the firefighters to go into to see if the occupant is there. A demolition contractor is coming in and taking the building down in such a way that we can look through the pile.

“Right now, we are still trying to confirm if anybody is in the home.”

Property-tax records show the home is owned by Ramiro and Blanca Aguas and is valued at $490,100.

Ramiro Aguas is one of the co-founders of the popular La Bamba Mexican restaurants that specialize in “burritos as big as your head.”

Fire scene

Fire heavily damaged a home early Thursday in the 4300 block of Stonebridge Court in southwest Champaign.

Original story, published 7:15 a.m.:

CHAMPAIGN — Fire heavily damaged a southwest Champaign home early Thursday.

A neighbor reported seeing fire just after 2 a.m. at a home in the 4300 block of Stonebridge Court, which is west of Staley Road.

Firefighters found heavy smoke and flames coming from the rear of the two-story house. Not long into the call, they asked for extra help to fight that fire from the exterior and protect nearby homes from damage.

Fire investigators remained at the house early Thursday morning trying to figure out what started the blaze. Fire department spokesman Randy Smith said fire officials are unaware if anyone was at home when the fire started.

“We have not been inside yet,” Smith said this morning, adding that there were still hot spots and extensive damage.

Fire officials believe there are two occupants; they were able to reach one of them at work.

The house is no longer livable.