Home at 314 N. Eighth destroyed by fire; firefighters find no one inside

QUINCY — Quincy firefighters responded Monday night to a fire in the second story of a home at 314 N. Eighth.

Bernie Vahlkamp, chief of the Quincy Fire Department, said the call came into the Quincy Fire Department at 8 p.m. Firefighters with Engine 2 at Central Fire Station, 906 Vermont, were the first to arrive, travelling two blocks to get to the scene.

“As soon as we pulled the truck out, (the fire) was already through the roof,” assistant chief James Pioch said. “Who knows how long it had been burning? It’s been going quite a while, and we’re going to be here for a while.”

Pioch said the fire department went to a second alarm at 8:02 p.m. Sixteen firefighters were on the scene, and off-duty personnel were called in to man reserve trucks.

Vahlkamp said firefighters had contained the fire to the building it started in. The Washland self-service laundry business to the north at 320 N. Eighth was closed. 

Pioch said firefighters searched the first floor and found no one inside.

“(The Quincy Police Department) is familiar with the structure, and they said it was vacant,” he said. “They said there may have been somebody on the first floor, so our crews were able to get into the first floor because most of the fire was in the back on the second floor. They did a search, and they did not find anybody on the first floor.”

According to the Adams County GIS map, the building is owned by Donald R. Cottingham Jr. of Quincy.

Dozens of people were watching the fire as they stood on the property of Sunset Apartments on the west side of Eighth Street. Some reported hearing a loud noise during a rainstorm.

“(A lightning strike) is plausible,” Pioch said. “But I don’t think they’ll be able to make that determination for a while. There’s so much damage. It’s going to be tough trying to find a point of origin. Outside of what we saw when we first arrived, there’s not much else you can tell.”

Firefighter Shawn Schneider, left, and Capt. Chris Bichsel with the Quincy Fire Department spray water on a home at 314 N. Eighth on Monday night. | David Adam

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