An overnight cleaner at First Source Federal Credit Union on Black River Boulevard is being credited with helping to catch a smoldering fire before it burned down the building early Friday morning.
Deputy Fire Chief Timothy W. Reilly said the fire started in the mulch outside the building, where firefighters eventually “found several discarded cigarette butts.” He said the butts may have been smoldering for some time before the flames spread.
Reilly said the smoldering mulch was “very close to the building” and spread into the wall.
“The burning started inside the wall, from the outside, and got into the facade of the structure,” Reilly explained. “It created an amount of smoke that entered the building.”
The deputy chief said the smoke started filling the building at about 12:30 a.m., which is when the overnight cleaner spotted it and called 9-1-1.
“If she wasn’t there cleaning, it would have caught the outside of the building on fire,” Reilly stated. “We credit the cleaner who was on site for sounding the alarm.”
The deputy chief said the fire could have spread much further into the building had it not be caught quickly.
Responding firefighters used an ax to take the facade off the side of the building and doused the spreading flames with a hose line. No one was injured.