One Hurt in Pontiac (IL) Auto Repair Shop Fire

Firefighters on a hoseline

Kevin Barlow

The Pantagraph, Bloomington, Ill.


Mar. 4—PONTIAC — One person was injured in a Wednesday night fire that destroyed an auto repair shop in Pontiac.

Firefighters were called at 6:51 p.m. to Bernie’s Automotive at 501 S. Ladd St. in Pontiac on Wednesday, said Pontiac Fire Chief Jacob Campbell.

“One civilian was transported to OSF Saint James-John W. Albrecht Medical Center and there were no reports of any first responder injuries,” he said Thursday.

The condition and identity of the person transported to the hospital was not available.

“Upon arrival the Pontiac Fire Department encountered an automotive repair center on fire including multiple vehicles that surrounded the building,” he said. “Pontiac Fire Department’s Incident Commander went immediately to a second box alarm due to the magnitude of the fire and potential exposures on the north, west, and south side of the repair center.”

“Multiple small explosions could be heard,” said a witness, Pam Geyer.

Fire departments from Chenoa, Cornell, Cullom, Dwight, Fairbury, Flanagan, Gridley, Odell and Saunemin were called in to assist. They also received support on scene by Commonwealth Edison, Duffy Ambulance, Illinois American Water Company, Livingston County Sheriff’s Department, NICOR Gas Company, Pontiac Police Department, Pontiac Streets Department and SELCAS Ambulance.

Several local volunteers and businesses also came to the aid of the first responders and provided water and food on scene throughout the fire operation, Campbell said.

The Illinois Office of the State Fire Marshal Fire was requested to the scene and will take the lead on the fire investigation. The Pontiac Fire Department Fire Investigation Unit has also been assigned and will assist the state in the investigation process.

As of Thursday morning, the Pontiac Fire Department Investigation Unit reported the fire is still under investigation and that they are continuing to work with the State Fire Marshal’s office.

This story will be updated.


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Contact Kevin Barlow at (309) 820-3238. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_barlow


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