Champaign house fire undergoing investigation

By Vivienne Henning

A residential fire claimed the life of two Champaign residents Saturday, March 26. The Champaign Fire Department responded to calls of a fire on the 1800 block of Cypress Drive around 4 a.m.RB

David Ferber, the Deputy Chief of Support for the Champaign Fire Department, said the original call was for a report of smoke in the area and a regular response team was dispatched. When the routine fire crew arrived on the scene they reported seeing smoke in the area and flames coming from the roof of the house, prompting them to call for an additional working fire response team.

Rescue and suppression efforts were made, and the fire was brought under control around 5 a.m.RB

According to the press release sent out from the fire department, the total damage costs as well as the origin and cause of the fire remain undetermined while the investigation is underway.

“The fire crews are examining witness statements and going over the data they gathered at the scene,” Ferber said.

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Sara J. Shuler, 26, was pronounced dead around 6 p.m. Saturday at Carle Hospital as a result from injuries she had sustained by the fire.RB

Christian Sheehan, 23, was pronounced dead at the emergency department of the Presence Covenant Medical Center at approximately 5 a.m. An autopsy was carried out on Monday to determine the cause of death.

“The preliminary autopsy results confirmed (the male victim) died as a result from injuries he had sustained in the fire,” Duane Northrup, Champaign County Coroner, confirmed Monday after the autopsy was completed.

The death of the two victims is being investigated by the Champaign County Coroner’s Office as well as the Illinois State Fire Marshal.

Feber hopes this incident will serve as a precaution for people to practice fire safety measures.

“Fatality in a fire is a permanent loss, and families are devastated,” Ferber said. “We want people to practice fire safety. Make sure you’re aware of what’s going on around you and have working smoke detectors in your building.”

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