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Arson suspected in Beaverville structure fire

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).

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

UPDATED: Danville motorcycle-car crash kills Vermilion County correctional officer

The Danville man who died early Thursday when his motorcycle was struck by a vehicle was a Vermilion County corrections officer.

Vermilion County Coroner Peggy Johnson reports that 33-year-old Christopher A. Williams was pronounced dead at 1:13 am at Presence United Samaritans Medical Center in Danville,

Police reported a 17-year-old female driving a passenger car on Avenue G attempted to cross U.S. 150 west of Danville. Williams was westbound on U.S. 150 on his motorcycle and collided with the 17-year-old's vehicle.
The 17-year-old did not suffer serious injury and was the only one in the vehicle. She was ticketed for failure to yield.

An autopsy was scheduled.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Fatal Iroquois County crash brings wrongful death lawsuits

Two wrongful death lawsuits have been filed in Iroquois County in connection with the July 23rd traffic crash that killed 59-year-old David Senesac of Watseka.

Named as defendants in the suits are the parent of a 17-year-old arrested for DUI. The un-named teen allegedly ran a stop sign at a high rate of speed in rural Crescent City. The resulting crash killed Senesac and critically injured Senesac's six-year-old grandson.

The DUI case against the teen is under investigation. State's Attorney Jim Devine said criminal charges against the youth will be considered once the state police crime lab completes toxicology tests. The teen, who is not identified pending the results of the investigation, could be tried as an adult.

Devine said the Senesac family is aware and has been informed of the ongoing investigation.

The Senesac family filed the two wrongful death lawsuits against the teen's family. One suit is on behalf of Senesac's widow, Terecia Senesac, which seeks an unspecified amount to provide for her. A second suit cites the family of the six-year-old grandson, who remains in a medically-induced coma and could suffer permanent consequences.

The suits do not list any specified amounts in damages.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Illinois jobless rate falls again in July

• Associated Press

The state Department of Employment Security says Illinois unemployment fell in July to 6.8 percent. It was the fifth straight monthly decrease in the state's jobless rate.

The July figure represents a drop from 9.2 percent one year ago and marks the largest year-over-year decline since 1984. The last time the rate was lower than 6.8 was in August 2008 when it was 6.7. There are 35,600 more jobs than one year ago.

The monthly employment report that the department released Thursday shows employers creating 11,200 private-sector jobs.

Department Director Jay Rowell says the falling jobless rate "seems to be picking up momentum with the warmer weather."  The federal government said earlier this month that national unemployment rate edged up to 6.2 percent in July.

94.1 WGFA

  • Parent Category: News

Iroquois County bats tested positive for rabies

Bats found in Cissna Park and Watseka areas have tested positive for rabies. Property owners are advised to take necessary precautions to prevent the spread of rabies.

The Iroquois County Public Health Department is working with the Illinois Department of Public Health's Division of Infectious Diseases and Iroquois County Animal Control in response to laboratory confirmation of the positive tests. The first bat was obtained in the Cissna Park area in May. The second bat testing positive through the Illinois Department of Public Health's State Laboratory was found in the Watseka area last week.

The bat is the primary carrier of rabies in Illinois. Although there are many misconceptions, rabies is transmitted to humans when saliva from a rabid animal gets inside the body of a person, typically through a bite or scratch from the animal. Bats flying above a person's head would not pose a risk for rabies for that person.

To prevent any spread of rabies, the Illinois Department of Public Health suggests:

• Be a responsible pet owner. Keep vaccinations up-to-date for all dogs, cats and ferrets. This requirement is important not only to keep your pets from getting rabies, but also to provide a barrier of protection for you if your animal is bitten by a rabid animal.
• Keep pets under direct supervision so they do not come in contact with wild animals. If your pet is bitten by a wild animal or exposed to a bat, seek veterinary assistance for your pet immediately.
• Call the local animal control agency to remove wild or stray animals in your neighborhood. Iroquois County residents should contact Iroquois Animal Control at (815) 432-6985.
• Avoid direct contact with unfamiliar animals. Do not handle, feed or unintentionally attract wild animals with open garbage cans or litter.
• Never adopt wild animals or bring them into your home. Do not try to nurse sick animals to health. Call animal control for assistance.
• Teach children not to handle unfamiliar animals, wild or domestic, even if they appear friendly. "Love your own, leave other animals alone" is a good safety principle for children to learn.
• Prevent bats from entering living quarters or occupied spaces in homes, churches, schools and other similar areas where they might come in contact with people or pets.
or further information contact Roxann Basham, RN, BSN at (815) 432-2483 Monday through Friday 8:30 A.M.– 4:30 P.M at the Iroquois County Public Health Department.

94.1 WGFA