A dozen area fire departments and up to about 70 firemen responded to a structure fire at a history-ridden, abandoned building in Beaverville Friday. There was no injury, but the former nursing home, restaurant, and residence on St. Charles Street was gutted by flames that kept firemen on the scene for five-hours.
Beaverville Assistant Fire Chief Jim Leveque (Luh-Veck) tells WGFA News, "it's a total loss; the slow-burning fire worked its way into the walls and eaves." The huge structure measured about 70-feet long and 50-feet wide. It's a 3-story structure with a basement.
Leveque said he's heard the structure may have also been a convent, where the nuns stayed, years ago when they served historic St. Mary's Catholic Church, across the street.
The building's been abandoned for about the last eight-plus years.
Police and fire investigators were on the scene. The State Fire Marshall's Office will follow up on leads in the suspected-arson case, which alerted Beaverville firemen just past 11:30 am.
Leveque said the fire response was bumped up to a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th level box alarm. Fire personnel and equipment came from Papineau, Donovan, Martinton, Concord-Iroquois, Aroma Park, Ashkum, Chebanse Township, St. Anne, Momence, Watseka, and Morocco (IN).