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|Victim Identified in Fatal Motel Fire; Witness Recounts Evacuation
|UPDATED 9:02am 6/13/09 Galesburg Police have identified the man who died in a fatal fire at a local motel Friday morning.
Police reports indicate the body has been identified as 47-year old Jeffrey D. Shaw. Police officials listed his address as being at the EconoInn at Henderson and Dayton streets, but there are unconfirmed reports Shaw is from Monmouth. He was pronounced dead around 7:45 am Friday -- hours after police reports indicate officers heard five seconds of screams from the room Shaw is believed to have been in, before they suddenly stopped. A rescue, they say, wasn't possible.
Meantime, an eyewitnesses to the fire, Loren Flores of California, has been in the city for about a month -- working with groups of people on a summer construction project at Galesburg High School. He and eight of his co-workers were staying in the EconoInn, and was in one of those 17 rooms that were evacuated with the fire broke out.
Flores tells WGIL he woke up to a lot of confusion around 3:45 am, and didn't fully realize what was happening at first.
"When it all started, I could hear commotion outside," Flores said. "I thought it was a bunch of kids. I thought they were outside partying or being loud. All of the sudden, I started hearing someone screaming, and the commotion just got worse."
Flores says he and his roommate eventually realized a fire had broken out and they were both able to get out unhurt, though he says it was difficult at one point because the smoke and fire ramped up quickly.
Flores lost most everything in the room he and his roommate had, but all he could do was smile, saying he's just got to go on.
Flores says he was, though, sorry to hear that one person did not make it out alive.
The official cause of the fire that destroyed nearly the entire second floor remains under investigation. Rumors have been rampant since the fire surrounding it and Shaw's death, but other than what we've reported, nothing has been disclosed.
For more details on the rest of the fire, CLICK HERE.
(A body is recovered from the EconoInn Friday morning and loaded into Coroner Mark Thomas' vehicle.)
(WGIL News Story and Photos by Will Stevenson)
|06 12 09 by Newsroom
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