Illinois Fire Chief Seriously Injured in Apartment Fire Bailout

The Beardstown fire chief was seriously injured when he and two other firefighters bailed out of a window during an apartment fire.
Three firefighters were injured after bailing out of a second story window at this apartment fire in Beardstown, Illinois on May 16, 2021. (WCIA)

One resident rescued and three firefighters hurt in Beardstown apartment fire

Steven Spearie, The State Journal-Register, Springfield, Ill.


May 17–Fire engulfed an apartment building in the 600 block of East Fourth Street in Beardstown late Sunday, injuring three firefighters.

The building, which is privately owned and is just off the downtown area, was formerly known as the Meyer Hotel and was converted into apartments.

Beardstown Mayor Tim Harris confirmed Monday morning that one of the injured firefighters was Beardstown Fire Chief Brian Becker, 46.

Becker, who is the full-time chief, was transported to Passavant Area Hospital in Jacksonville. A news release from the city of Beardstown Monday said Becker’s injuries are “serious.”

One other firefighter was still being treated for injuries while another firefighter was treated and released.

The fire department in Beardstown is a largely volunteer force and was helped out Sunday by multiple crews from surrounding counties.

At least one resident of the apartment complex was also being treated for injuries.

The American Red Cross is assisting 14 residents who were displaced by the fire.

Also helping out with clothing and monetary donations are Ebenezer Church (217-202-9486), St. John’s Lutheran (LCMS) Church (217 323-1288) and the Cass County Health Department (217-452-3057, Ext. 1373).

A GoFundMe page has been set up to assist victims.

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Multiple people made 911 calls about the fire shortly after 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

The State Fire Marshal was on the scene to assist with the investigation. Fire crews, along with Cass County sheriff’s deputies and the Beardstown police, were still on the scene late Monday morning.

The city is considering demolition options on the building.

According to a 1993 article in The State Journal-Register, Paul and Lesa Myers of Beardstown purchased the circa-1910 Meyer’s Hotel and planned to create 11 “affordable” apartments, plus two retail stores on the first floor of the building.

Plans called for six two-bedroom apartments and five one-bedroom units.

Contact Steven Spearie: 217-622-1788,,


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