A fire late yesterday afternoon heavily damaged an Alton. The structure, in the 3300 block of Fernwood, was reported on fire just before 5pm Wednesday, and is considered a total loss. No civilians were injured in the fire, but one firefighter had to be taken to the hospital for a minor injury. He was treated and later released.

Authorities say more than a dozen firefighters were on the scene at the height of the blaze, which apparently began in a bedroom. The home is owned by Richard and Denise Wickham, who were not home at the time. When the call went out to fire crews, they first believed a woman may be inside the home, or possibly a 13 year old boy. But crews soon discovered that both were safely away from the home at the time, although a family dog perished in the blaze. No word yet on a cause.