Officials continue Carterville fire investigation

Carterville fire department personnel and community members are still dealing with the aftermath from a Feb. 11 fire.

Bruce Talley, the city’s fire chief, said investigators have not yet discovered

the cause of a blaze that began around 6 p.m. on Carterville’s Division Street and claimed the Corbell Telephone and Electronic Teleco building. However, Talley said the more-than- century-old building’s demolition, which occurred Thursday, should help the investigation.

“It may take a while to figure

out the cause of the fire,” he said. “Some situations can take months to determine, and sometimes they don’t get figured out at all.”

Tally said investigators do not know the fire’s monetary damage, but he estimated it to be more than $100,000. It took five local fire departments to control the blaze’s

spread, he said. Community members have

offered business owner Dennis Corbell their help.

“When something like this happens, you just immediately want to do all you can to help because you know you would want the same support given to you if it were

your home or business,” Carterville resident Stephanie Harden said.

Harden said she is a six-year Carterville resident and enjoys the city’s sense of community and togetherness, especially in tragic times.

“I haven’t stopped giving the downtown stores and restaurants my business,” she said. “I just make sure I have cash on me because it’s easy for me to just go somewhere else to get dinner or shop, but this is where I’ve been loyal to and where I’ll stay, especially now.”

Jim Kirk, owner of LGB Train Shop, which is located on the same block as the Corbell building, said his business experienced electronic outages because of the fire. He said the block’s businesses were without communication until Wednesday night because the fire destroyed the Corbell building’s landline, which caused every area store to lose phone access as well.

“This is truly tragic and devastating for them, but it also hurts us because we had no phone use and several businesses couldn’t even use their credit card machines,” Kirk said. “When businesses are down, it stops the flow of consumers and that in turn hurts the businesses.”

Kirk said Frontier Communications restored the area businesses communication Friday morning after providing temporary cables before the Corbell building’s demolition.

The Corbell Telephone and Electronic Teleco company came to the Southern Illinois and Western Kentucky areas in 1974 and has been provided telecommunication services and solutions to their customers ever since, according to the business’ website.

Although the fire destroyed the Corbell building, it also threatened the Create A Smile Thrift Store and one other building Corbell owns.

Corbell was unavailable for comment by press time Monday.

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