The Illinois Fire Safety Institute started burning Eagle Creek Resort on Aug. 17. They came back over the weekend to finish the job.
Ten Lake Shelbyville Area fire departments spent time the first weekend on interior live fire training at the separate Eagle’s Nest Resort. OVer the weekend, they took part in exterior fire training, as they burned both buildings of the main resort.
“They did a phenomenal job,” said Tim Meister of the Illinois Fire Safety Institute. “We burned the resort on Saturday in two phases. We did one wing in the morning. After lunch we did the main portion with the banquet are. Everything went as planned and the weather was perfect.”
Forecast for a possible Sunday burn suggested a wind that would be more dangerous, so the goal was to get all the burn done on Saturday.
“We had 60-70 firefighters helping with hose lines. running fire engines to fill with water and bring it to the resort, we had ladder trucks working. We had lots of training all on the exterior.”
Meister said they used the ladder trucks to provide an elevated waterway to control the fire. They wanted to to burn one building at a time.
“We didn’t want the whole resort to go up in flames at the same time,” Meister said. “We also used the elevated waterway to minimize the heat and keep it controlled. There was a tremendous amount of heat, but we had no injuries. The localfire department did an excellent job moving water.” Meister said. ‘We never ran out of water.”
The burn was not without risk. Meisetr said that the closest trees were about 30 feet away.
“That was pretty close,” Meister said. “We cooled the trees throughout the burn. There were two pines trees within 15 feet, but there was no damage done. The golf course office was about 75-100 feet away and there was no damage to that. We kept cooling it down from the radiant heat.”
Monday morning the resort stood in ruins as the fire institute and the local departments had done their job. Now it is up to the state to haul off the debris and return the grounds to pristine condition for a new opportunity to develop the property.
“The debris will need to cool before work can begin,” said Rachel Torbert, Deputy Director/Assistant Chief of Staff for Communications at Illinois Department of Natural Resources. “We hope contractors can begin that process by the end of the week, though that will depend on weather as always.
“Following debris removal, we’ll begin work on locating a vendor for a new facility. At this time, we don’t know by what process that will happen, but we are looking to get a new vendor and plans for a new facility in place as quickly as possible.
“We’re pleased to be able to work with the fire service institute to utilize the resort for fire training for local fire departments. They’ll be able to take that knowledge back to their communities to better serve residents in their fire protection districts which is a benefit to all.”