A Saturday night fire in Champaign has claimed the lives of two people. Champaign County Coroner Duane Northrup says 49-year-old Leslie Gill was pronounced dead at Carle Foundation Hospital at 3:41 a.m. Sunday (December 22, 2019). She had been rescued from her burning home at 9 Sherwood Court by Champaign Firefighters when they responded to the blaze shortly before 11:30 p.m. Saturday. A minor girl also died Sunday after being found in the home by firefighters.
Firefighters found heavy smoke and flames coming from the home when they arrived. They rescued two people from the home as crews were able to quickly extinguish the fire. One was Gill who succumbed to her injuries early Sunday. The other was a girl who also died on Sunday. A third person was taken to the hospital with non life-threatening injuries, and a fourth was not hurt.
There were no injuries to firefighters, and the cause of the fire remains under investigation. The Champaign Fire and Police Departments, Illinois State Fire Marshal and Champaign County Coroner’s Office are all investigating the incident.
The Champaign Fire Department reminds all citizens to maintain working smoke alarms in their home – and have and practice fire escape plans. Smoke alarms can provide early notification of a fire when seconds count.
Early Sunday the Champaign Fire Department announced it had organized a ‘Smoke Alarm Blitz’ in the neighborhood surrounding the home when Saturday night’s tragic fire occurred. Fire Department crews were going door-to-door on Sherwood Court offering to check smoke alarms. Crews were also offering to install free smoke alarms in homes that need them.
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) roughly 3 out of 5 fire deaths happen in homes without any smoke alarms or alarms that were not working. Know the sound of your smoke alarm, and if the alarm sounds – get out and stay out.