Correction at 9:30 p.m.: The house fire on Plum Street was not caused by a dirty and damaged chimney as previously reported, according to Vermillion EMS Deputy Chief Matt Callahan. Henry Bruguier, a VFD firefighter, originally said that structural problems with the chimney led to the fire.
A house fire at 418 N. Plum Street Thursday afternoon was caused by a malfunction of an electrical cord on the main floor of the house, according to an investigation by Vermillion Fire Department officials.
In a press release Friday evening, the VFD said the fire burned through the floor of the house and extended into the floor joist. The fire also spread into the walls of the home and into the attic area, forcing firefighters to open the roof.
At the time of the fire, none of the occupants of the house were at home.
“The occupants have been put up in a motel by local firefighters,” the VFD said. “A local property management company is currently looking for temporary housing.”
Donations to help the occupants of the home can be dropped off at the Freedom Valu Center convenience store in Vermillion or to the Donations for Tara Facebook page.
Firefighters and EMS were initially called to the residence at about 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon for a structure fire.
“On arrival the first companies — we found a working fire. We made it on aggressive interior attack. We felt fire on first floor on the main level and the basement area,” Callahan said Thursday evening.
Due to the extent of the fire, a second alarm was requested by a chief officer on the scene. This request brought crews from the Beresford, Wakonda and Gayville fire departments.
The fire was extinguished after about 20 minutes after the arrival of first responders and then firefighters searched for hotspots on all three floors of the house.
Two dogs were also rescued from the house by a firefighter earlier in the evening.
All units were cleared from the scene at about 7:40 p.m.