EDWARDSVILLE - Edwardsville's Fire Department and other neighboring agencies spend an enormous amount of time training and preparing for the worst possible fire and smoke situations. Fast response, training, and proper equipment saved the McDonald's and Circle K businesses during a serious fire Thursday night, Edwardsville Fire Chief James Whiteford said Friday morning.

Whiteford said the crews did respond quickly to the 8:15 p.m. call to his department and by 9:25 p.m., the fire was out. When crews arrived, thankfully workers and customers had left the building and no one was hurt. However, the visibility was about one foot ahead inside the structures because of the heavy smoke initially he said.

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"We had to use thermal imaging equipment to be able to see through the smoke," he said. "It enabled us to figure out where the fire was coming from and extinguish it. "Our technology and training with it really paid off. I am always so proud of all our firefighters and those who assist us in Box Alarm fires. They are very professional."

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Whiteford said the management and employees at both McDonald's and Circle K did a "fantastic job" getting everyone out unharmed in the serious fire.

Whiteford added the state fire marshal's office was called to investigate and the exact cause of the fire is not yet known. Management is already inside trying to work on issues in both businesses. When asked about a time frame of when the two businesses could reopen, it was said as soon as they can, but there is smoke damage that must be wiped away and some fire damage must be repaired. Inventory will also have to be assessed by the health department.

However, today, management and employees and the Edwardsville/Glen Carbon communities should be thankful to the firefighters for their efforts that saved these two businesses from losing their homes.

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