Blaze tears through Bloomington apartment house


Locust Street fire
Bloomington firefighters continued to put out hot spots early Monday morning after a fire gutted a three-unit apartment house at 319 E. Locust St. (Photo by Howard Packowitz/WJBC)


By Howard Packowitz

BLOOMINGTON – A fire caused heavy damage to an apartment house late Sunday night on Bloomington’s near east side.

Bloomington Firefighters were called shortly before 11 p.m. to a house with three apartments at 319 E. Locust St., between McLean and Prairie Streets.

Only one of the seven people believed to be living in the building was home at the time. That person escaped unharmed, but a cat died in an upstairs apartment. A pet iguana survived, according to Deputy Fire Chief Eric West.

No firefighters were hurt. They were allowed to take breaks to cool off in the warm and humid air.

West said there was major fire damage upstairs, with smoke and heat damage to the rest of the building.

“They had heavy fire blowing out of the windows on the east side of the building on the second floor,” said West.

“They made good progress and got up to the second floor, and made a good hit on it, and got the majority of the fire knocked down before it spread anywhere else,” said West.

Firefighters continued to pour water on hot spots long after they extinguished most of the fire.

West would not speculate where the fire started. He said investigators will be looking into the cause.

“They want to talk to the individual that was here, and see what he saw when he came out of his apartment,” said West.

“Through the investigation process, they should be able to determine what happened,” the deputy chief also said.

Howard Packowitz can be reached at


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