Illinois Firefighter Dies After Battling Electrical Fire

Updated: 04-24-2006 11:56:25 AM

The Pantagraph (Bloomington, Illinois)

BLOOMINGTON, Illinois-- An Atlanta firefighter likely died of a blocked artery after fighting what fire officials say was an electrical fire late Friday night in Waynesville.

Preliminary autopsy results indicate Roger W. Armstrong, a 42-year-old volunteer firefighter, died from a blocked coronary artery about 1:35 a.m. Saturday at BroMenn Regional Medical Center, said McLean County Coroner Beth Kimmerling.

Atlanta Fire Department Chief Ric Cheek previously said Armstrong had complained he was not feeling well while fighting the house fire at 408 S. Isham St. He was directed to an ambulance after he started to feel worse.

Waynesville Fire Protection District Chief Glenn Cowan said an official with the state fire marshals office told him the fire started because of an electrical problem between the upstairs ceiling and attic floor. Charlene Sorenson owned and lived in the home, and she was at work at the time of the fire, he said.

Armstrong was the only person physically harmed because of the fire, Cowan said.

Firefighters from seven agencies knocked down the flames in 2 or three hours, Cowan said. The wind blew embers onto a house across the street, and firefighters had to continually spray water on the neighbors home to keep it from catching fire, he said.

The top story and attic were destroyed by flames, which appeared to have traveled between the walls on the south side of the house, Cowan said. The first floor mostly suffered water damage, he said.

Cowan said the house was "totaled."

Memorial gifts can to be made to the Roger W. Armstrong Fund at the Atlanta National Bank, P.O. Box 459, Atlanta, IL 61723. His funeral is planned for Wednesday.