Apartment building fire in downtown Hamilton

UPDATED: January 20 at 10:24 a.m.

In a press release Friday, Hamilton Fire Chief of Police Walter Sellens reports the department has concluded its investigation of that fatal fire that claimed the life of 5-month-old Jillian Lorigan on January 3 in the 900 block of Broadway.

The State Fire Marshal's office has released its report which has left the fire as officially "Undetermined."

The origin of the fire was determined to have begun in the bathroom of the apartment that was rented by Stevie N. Walker.

The investigation focused on electrical problems and/or human involvement. Police have no evidence that would indicate criminal behavior was involved in the fire or fatality.

The State's Fire Marshall's Office says the investigation is still open, and it looks like human involvment may have taken place.

Investigators are looking into the fact that someone may have started the fire with a lighter, however, at this time no criminal investigation is going on.


UPDATED: January 5 at 3:41 p.m.

Hamilton City Hall is requesting that all donations for displaced residents be taken to the Community Center at 920 Main Street.

The community has really reached out to help and donations keep rolling in.

Red Cross volunteers were also on the scene to provide emergency disaster assistance to several families that lost their homes as a result of the fire.

â??We are so thankful for our Red Cross volunteers who brave the cold so that they can respond to a fire,â?? says Tye Adair, Executive Director of the LaMoine Valley Chapter. â??And, we are so grateful to our community. Their gifts of goodwill and kindness enable the Red Cross to respond whenever and wherever we are needed.â??

Click here

to read the complete press release issued by the American Red Cross.

If you are still looking to make a donation:

Boys items:

Size 3T, 4T and 5T in pants and shirts

Size 6 t-shirts

Size 6 and 8 in shoes

Boys pull ups

Any type of toys for little boys.

Women's items:

Size 5 jeans

Size small shirts

Size 7 1/2 to 8 shoes

Women's Size 20 and 26 pants and 2XL shirts

Men's items:

Size 34 and 36 pants

Size medium and XL shirts

Other useful items:

Non perishable foods

Houese hold items


Any kitchen

Any bathroom item




Walmart gift cards

Monitary donations may be made to:

Marine Bank & Trust

1111 Broadway,

Hamilton, IL 62341

Have you helped out? Tell us your story below or on our

Facebook page here



UPDATED: January 4 at 12:50 p.m.

A Hamilton family is overcome with grief after fire claimed the life of an infant.

Authorities report that the victim of Tuesday's fire was 5-month-old Jillian Lorigan.

Eighteen people in total were rescued from a burning building in downtown Hamilton Tuesday afternoon.

The fire was so big that firefighters from Hamilton, Keokuk, Carthage and Warsaw responded to it.

"It's really scary hearing those people scream like that. All the noise and the glass breaking.The screaming...and I had to just turn around and walk away...It's tough," said Mayor Stephen Woodruff.

"There was heavy smoke and flames coming out of the building. People were self evacuating down the back steps," said Assistant Police Chief Bryan Finch.

Hamilton Fire Chief Steve Helenthal isn't sure what started the fire, but he thinks it started in the apartment where the victim lived.

"There was a report of one child in there. We made several attempts, but the heat, fire and smoke were too heavy, so we pulled our fire crews out and started attacking the fire," said Helenthal.

Mayor Woodruff owns four businesses adjacent to the burning buildings. He helped rescue a couple out of a window when the fire broke out at around 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

"I don't know half of the people who helped us. I can't tell you who carried the ladder to rescue the couple, but people were there to help," said Woodruff.

Chief Helenthal says some people were treated for smoke inhalation. No firefighters were hurt battling the blaze, but he says the loss of life is never easy.

Helenthal said, "it's not very nice. Not only am I going through that emotion, but I'm also watching the town I was born and grew up in, the whole town burn up, so it's been a sad afternoon."

"I'm not upset about the buildings. That stuff is replaceable. But we had an infant fatality, and I'm very sorrowful for that. I don't blame anyone, but I think the fire department did an awesome job. They saved 18 people," said Woodruff.

Two of the buildings were total losses.

According to a news release from the Hamilton Police Department, a decision was made Tuesday night to collapse a wall on the front of the building at 940 Broadway for safety concerns.

The Red Cross put some of the displaced residents in a Keokuk hotel overnight. The American Red Cross was in town both Tuesday and Wednesday visiting families in need of food and shelter and financial assistance.

If you would like to help, donations can be dropped off at Hamilton's City Hall Wednesday and there will be a drop off at the community center on Thursday. You can also bring donations to WCAZ Radio in Carthage.

The State Fire Marshall was on scene Wednesday investigating the fire. Hamilton Mayor Steve Woodruff expects him to have a cause by early Thursday morning.

An autopsy for 5-month-old Jillian Lorigan was also scheduled Wednesday in Springfield, Illinois.

We will bring you more details as they are released.

Click here for video footage submitted by Hamilton's Sally Johnstun.

Original Story: Tuesday, January 3 at 11 p.m.

An apartment building on fire in downtown Hamilton has now been confirmed a fatal fire.

KHQA's Rajah Maples reporting live from the scene tells us that a young infant did not survive the blaze.

Keokuk, Carthage and Hamilton crews continue to battle heavy flames spreading throughout several buildings between 9th and 10th on Broadway. A portion of adjoining building to the apartments collapsed just after 5 p.m.

Hamilton Mayor Steve Woodruff says 18 people were rescued from the apartment building, including a couple he helped rescue through an upstairs window. Some people on site are being treated for smoke inhalation.

Meanwhile, traffic is being re-routed from the immediate area.

We will bring you more details as they are released.