By TESA GLASS
MT. VERNON — — Fires in the city and in the county are under investigation to determine if there is a connection after a fire and vehicle roll over on Friday
A structure fire was reported to the Jefferson Fire Protection District at 9:59 a.m. Friday morning, with the caller stating someone just set a structure on fire at 13648 E. Game Farm Rd. According to JFPD Lt. Ryan Clinton, two minutes later, the report of a roll-over involving the suspect in the case was received while emergency vehicles were en route.
The building on Game Farm Road was a storage unit which houses several cars, campers and boats. Mutual aid was requested from Mt. Vernon Fire Department for manpower and from Waltonville Fire Protection District for use of a tanker.
"There was heavy smoke coming from the openings and the roof," Clinton said of the 50 foot by 100 foot building. "There was a single car on fire and a part of the roof structure was involved."
JFPD Chief Robert Beal confirmed at the scene the fire was deliberately set. One car was set on fire, but fire damage was also sustained by an older model Mustang, a newer Mustang, a camper/mobile home and a boat that was in storage in the building. Other items in the building were damaged by smoke.
Meanwhile, on Illinois Route 37, the suspect in the fire was discovered out of his vehicle when deputies from the sheriff's office and Litton Ambulance arrived on scene. The vehicle had been heading south on Illinois Route 37 and left the roadway to the west, landing upside down in a small ravine next to a lake. The suspect was taken to Good Samaritan Regional Health Center for treatment of injuries.
The vehicle was impounded for evidence, and the Mt. Vernon Police Department crime scene technician was processing the scene on Route 37 for a connection with a car and structure fire which happened shortly after midnight on Friday, according to Mt. Vernon Fire Department Assistant Chief Kevin Sargent.
The MVFD was called to a car fire on South 24th Street at 12:13 a.m. Friday, then received the report of a home fire in the 1000 block of South 13th Street at 12:24 a.m. JFPD was called for mutual aid to the home fire, which was put out by an extinguisher before firefighters arrived. The home was unoccupied at the time of the fire.
Sargent said both fires in the city are also being investigated as arson. The Illinois State Fire Marshal has been contacted and will be working with the investigators from both departments in assessing evidence found at all scenes, Sargent said.