Today in Morton - Feb. 4

Nathan Domenighini

Fire starts at former Pioneer Seed building

The Morton Fire Department responded to a fire at the former Pioneer Seed building located on South Main Street at about 11:30 a.m. today.

Workers were doing some cutting work on the second story of the building when sawdust caught fire, spreading quickly to the frame of the structure, MFD chief Joe Kelley said.

"It was contained to the upper exposed level," Kelley said. "It didn't leave that area.

Firefighters responded within 5 minutes and were able to distinguish the fire within 45 minutes.

An East Peoria unit was called in for assistance.

"We called in East Peoria because what we really needed for that operation was an aerial unit," Kelley said. Currently, the MFD's aerial unit is undergoing repairs.

The building, Kelley said, was in unfavorable shape before the fire, prompting him to keep firefighters on the outside.

"It's at risk of collapse," he said. "It is not stable. Even though it was accessible, we did not send any firefighters into that location.

"We stayed back away from (the building)," he added. "That's why the aerial unit was useful."

------------------------

Pumpkin Festival theme announced

The 2009 Pumpkin Festival will carry the theme, "Christmas in the Pumpkin Patch."

Interesting choice — we'll see how the chamber plans on executing this in an upcoming issue.

------------------------

Allison Vershaw named chamber program coordinator

Allison Vershaw was named the Morton Chamber of Commerce program coordinator Saturday night at the chamber's annual banquet.

More info on this soon.