Fire Damages Double in Galesburg

Galesburg firefighters have been scrambling this summer.

It’s not that they’re seeing more fires; it’s just that many of the fires they’re getting called to are much bigger than normal.

“The actual number of fires isn’t the actual concern. It’s more the severity of fires,” says Fire Marshal Dan Foley.

Last year fires caused a total of 1.1 million dollars in damages to Galesburg properties.

This year’s total up until this point: 2.2 million dollars.

“That’s just unusual for us. So we have to figure out if that’s a trend or an anomaly for this year,” says Foley.

According to Foley, there hasn’t been a fatal fire in Galesburg in two years.

But large fires that do lots of damage put a strain on the department, both put out, but also to investigate.

“These little things we investigate can turn into big deals,” says Foley.

Arson has been ruled in almost all of this summer’s major fires, but Foley says pinpointing a cause, and taking a proactive stance isn’t easy with limited resources.

“We don’t’ have a single full-time investigator, we have a full-time firefighter who does that as part of his job,” says Foley.

This fall city leaders are expected to consider updating their fire codes. Which many hope will bring an end this string of devastating fires.