West Jackson street apartment fire

West Jackson street apartment fire

Camille Spencer, Reporter

On Fri , March 10,  apartment building 819 on West Jackson Street in Belvidere caught on fire. The  building was three stories high and it is completely destroyed.

Phone calls to 911 were being made around 9:45 . Deputy Shane Woody commented that there were even people jumping out of windows to escape the flames. Once the Belvidere fire department arrived, they evacuated the building and the neighboring building as well. According to the Fire Department Captain Mark Zumbrage, all three stories of the apartments and the roof were filled with fire.

With everything that was lost between different families, the American Red Cross provided food, water, and shelter. The local YMCA made a post the next day explaining that whoever was involved in the fire was welcome to use their showers, get something to eat and drink. Many people were given CPR and 14 people were rushed to the hospital.  Probably the most tragic event of this incident was the loss of  36-year-old Melissa D. Darling-Krauchunas. She passed away due to smoke inhalation. Her loss shocked everyone in her family. Her best friend, Theresa Stanfield, remembers their memories and her great spirit.

“She was a character, always funny and telling jokes. She was a very open and honest person, and I know even in this situation she’s looking down telling us not to cry and just that she’s okay, and just to move on with our lives and be strong and be there for each other, because that’s the type of person she was.”

The fire was so severe that it took three hours for the 18 different fire departments on mutual aid (MABAS) to completely extinguish the fire. Some of the victims of the fire are having gofundme pages created for them. These pages are being used to donate to certain families that have lost everything but the clothes on their backs. Everyone hopes that victims are able to heal and recover and possibly have enough money to replace everything destroyed.