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Fire 1

Decatur Fire Department crews work the scene of a Thursday morning fire in the 1700 block of West Packard Street.

DECATUR — One person was taken to the hospital after the Decatur Fire Department quickly put out a house fire in the 1700 block of West Packard Street Thursday morning.

Chris Swinda and Kristy Tredway were asleep in the house, which is just west of MacArthur High School, when the fire was noticed by a neighbor, Swinda said.

Two neighbors worked together to bang on the house and make enough noise to wake up Tredway and Swinda, who work second shift.

“Me and my fiancée were sleeping, and I heard some yelling and some screaming and some banging on the house,” he said. “I came running out, and I saw the side of the house on fire.”

Swinda ran back into the house to assist his fiancée to the backyard where within seconds they were engulfed in smoke.

“I couldn’t see where I was going,” Swinda said.

Fire crews arrived at the scene at 9:09 a.m. A firefighter retrieved the residents from the smoke-filled backyard and led them to safety in a neighbor's yard.

The fire was controlled by 9:30 a.m., according to a news release from the fire department. 

The home was significantly damaged and is uninhabitable. The family is being relocated and assisted by the Red Cross. 

Swinda and Tredway live in the home with their two children, who were at school. Swinda said his fiancée has difficulty breathing and uses oxygen, and she was taken by ambulance to Decatur Memorial Hospital for treatment for possible smoke inhalation. Her injuries were determined to be nonlife-threatening, according to fire department. 

Swinda said he believes the fire began in the garage then spread throughout the attic of the home. The fire department said the fire is under investigation.

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Contact Claire Hettinger at (217) 421-6985. Follow her on Twitter: @ClaireHettinger


Public Safety Reporter

Public safety reporter for the Herald & Review.

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