WOOD RIVER - The importance of area firefighters can never be understated.

Such was the case Monday night in a multi-alarm fire in Downtown Wood River in the 100 block of Wood River Avenue.

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A blazing fire threatened multiple buildings in the Downtown Wood River area, but multiple fire departments teamed with the Wood River Fire Department to contain it to the one building.

The State Fire Marshal has been called to investigate, Wood River Fire Chief Wade Stahlhut said.

A track hoe was brought in around 9 p.m. Monday night to get inside the structure, heavily damaged by the fire.

Wood River Fire Department, East Alton Fire Department, Edwardsville Fire Department, Roxana Fire Department, Rosewood Heights Fire Department, Alton Memorial Ambulance, Madison County Emergency Management and Wood River Police all teamed to extinguish the fire and keep traffic from the area.

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“Everyone did a fantastic job fighting the fire,” Chief Stahlhut said. “I don’t think they can be praised enough. They kept the fire contained to its original building and it didn’t spread to any others. It didn’t go to any other structure.”

Stahlhut said the mutual aid firefighters pool works together seamlessly.

“Our mutual aid resource pool works very well together,” Stahlhut said. “It was a seamless operation. They were fantastic.”

Stahlhut said he couldn’t give an exact cause of the fire because it is still under investigation. He said the fire may have started on the second floor on the south end.

“Because of the damage there, it will take us a little bit to determine the true origin of the fire,” he said. “We are looking at a couple of options with the building today. We have a structural engineer who will evaluate the building and we will go from there.”

Dan Brannan also contributed to this story.

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