Mt Pleasant News

Wash Journal   Fairfield Ledger
Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 17, 2017

Fire damages Union Block building

By LYDIA BAKER-CRAWLEY, Mt. Pleasant News | Jan 24, 2011

A five-foot woman leapt from a second-story window at the back of the Union Block building early this morning to escape the fire that started in an apartment next door.

“We had to get out. I couldn’t breathe,” a tenant of the Union Block said who wished to remain anonymous.

The tenant jumped from a second-story window to escape her smoke-filled apartment. Once out the window, she used an air vent and meter to make her way to the alley behind the building.

At 6:12 this morning, fire and police crews responded to a fire on the north side of the town square. The crews found the second story of the Union Block building on fire by the time they arrived.

Reportedly, the fire was called in by Verna Ungerman, who saw the fire when her husband dropped her off for work at Curves, made the call.

The tenant also said that the fire began in apartment 204. Her landlord, building owner Tina Pham, stated it is thought that a space heater may be to blame.

However, the anonymous tenant alleged she had heard that electrical problems had been reported to the landlord and nothing had been done about it.

The tenant said she doesn’t know what others are going to do for living arrangements, but she had already contacted an aunt to stay with.

“I was woke up at about six o’clock by someone banging in my door,” Robert Ealey said.

The person Ealey found at his door was a Mt. Pleasant Police officer who was going door to door to evacuate the occupants.

Ealey lives above F&M Bank, next door to the Union Block building on the square.

Jeff Heater lives in the apartment next to Ealey and stated that despite the presence of a solid, thick brick wall between the buildings, he could still smell the fire and smoke in the building next door.

For more on this story, see the Jan. 25 issue of the Mt. Pleasant News.

Fire severely damaged the Union Block building, located at 109-113 W. Monroe St., on the north side of the square. The fire was called in at 6:12 a.m. and began in an upstairs apartment. One of the apartment’s occupants leaped from a second-floor window to safety. The three-floor structure was placed on the National Historic Register in 1991 and is the largest building on the square. There were no injuries — to either apartment occupants or firemen. Mt. Pleasant firefighters were joined in battling the blaze by the New London Fire Department. A firefighter reported that several local businesses donated items during the fire, including: Subway, HCHC food services and Wellspring Church. Hy-Vee donuts were also on site and McDonald’s donated cups. For more photos from the fire, see page 5. Also, pictures from the fire can be found at – MPN Photos by Lydia Baker-Crawley, Brooks Taylor and Bill Gray
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