Fire Investigation Update – 1802 Cypress Drive

On March 26, 2016, the Champaign Fire Department responded to a working house fire at 1802 Cypress Drive. The fire tragically claimed the lives of two of the home’s occupants.

Champaign Fire Chief Gary Ludwig said, “Our hearts and sympathies go out to all the families affected by this tragic event. Investigating the cause of this fire has been our highest priority and we’ve worked collaboratively with various agencies on the investigation since the day of the tragedy.”

Investigators from the Champaign Fire Department, Office of the State Fire Marshal, Champaign Police Department, and the Illinois State Police have spent countless hours thoroughly documenting the scene, recreating the pre-fire conditions, performing a comprehensive scene examination, and interviewing witnesses.

Champaign Fire Department Investigators have concluded the fire originated near or in the wall common to the east entry foyer and the utility closet of the house, but were unable to eliminate all potential sources of ignition in that area. Investigators have ruled the cause of this fire as “undetermined” but are leaving the investigation open.

While examining the scene, Investigators found two smoke alarms and two carbon monoxide alarms. The two smoke alarms were found in a hallway closet. One smoke alarm, from an external exam, appeared to have a battery installed. The second smoke alarm remained in its original packaging. One carbon monoxide alarm was found in the same hallway closet, unplugged, without a battery installed. The second carbon monoxide alarm was found near the utility room of the house, plugged-in, with a battery back-up installed. Those alarms with batteries installed may undergo further testing to confirm if they would have sounded during this fire. The occupant that escaped the fire stated he did not hear any alarms sounding.

The Champaign Fire Department reminds everyone that working smoke alarms save lives. Remember to install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside of every sleeping area, and on every level of the home, including the basement. It is important to test all smoke alarms at least once a month, by pressing the test button. Smoke alarm batteries must be replaced at least once a year or whenever the alarm chirps, which is a low battery warning.

Make sure everyone in the home understands the sound of the smoke alarm and knows how to respond. Remember, if the smoke alarm sounds, get outside and stay outside. Respond quickly – get up and go, remember to know two ways out of every room, get yourself outside quickly, and go to your outside meeting place with your family.

Contact: David Ferber | 217-403-7203