City Officials Provide Apartment Building Fire Update and Encourage Fireworks Safety

Media Contact: Deputy Fire Marshal Randy Smith | 217-403-7212, 840-9434 | [email protected]

The Champaign Fire Department responded to a working fire at 2411 N. Neil Street, May 30, 2016, at 4:54 p.m.  The fire caused heavy damage to the apartment building.  Residents of the ten (10) occupied apartments were forced from their homes and have been unable to return.

Investigators from the Champaign Fire Department, Office of the State Fire Marshal, and Champaign Police Department have thoroughly documented the scene, recreated pre-fire conditions, performed a comprehensive scene examination, and interviewed witnesses.

Champaign Fire Department Investigators have concluded the fire originated on the exterior of the building, on the first floor patio for apartment 103.  Investigators found the cause of this fire to be accidental, resulting from the improper use of fireworks near ordinary combustibles.

As firework activities become more common as we approach the July 4 holiday, Champaign Police would like to take this time to share fireworks safety tips with citizens.  Residents are also reminded to always maintain working smoke alarms in your place of residence and to regularly practice a home escape plan.

  • Always carefully read cautionary labels and performance descriptions before igniting fireworks.
  • A responsible adult should supervise all firework activities.  Never allow children to handle or light any fireworks.
  • Use all fireworks outdoors in a clear area away from homes, buildings and vehicles. Never light fireworks indoors or near leaves, dry grass and flammable substances.
  • Always have a bucket of water, water hose and/or a fire extinguisher nearby. Know ahead of time how to operate the fire extinguisher properly.
  • Stand several feet away from lit fireworks. Never relight a “dud” firework or stand over it to investigate.  Put it out with water and dispose of it.
  • Never shoot fireworks into metal or glass containers.
  • Wear safety glasses when shooting fireworks. If injured by fireworks, immediately go to a doctor or hospital. If an eye injury occurs, do not touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage.
  • Though viewed by many as a safer alternative, sparklers can heat up anywhere from 1,800 to 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit. Do not allow young children to hold sparklers and do not allow children to use without adult supervision.
  • If you plan to use fireworks, make sure they are legal. If you have to light the wick of a firework and it either explodes or shoots in the air, it is illegal to use in the City of Champaign. The fine for using illegal fireworks is $185.
  • The best way to protect your family is to not use any fireworks at home. Instead, attend public fireworks displays and leave the lighting to the professionals. Visit for information on the Champaign County Freedom Celebration fireworks and events.

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, 230 people on average go the emergency room every day with fireworks-related injuries in the month around the July 4th holiday.  If using fireworks, please exercise extreme caution to help keep you, your family and community safe.