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Downtown Fire, A Frightening Reminder For One Local Woman

Updated: Monday, July 14 2014, 10:21 AM CDT
It was business as usual at the Jefferson Terrace building in downtown Springfield Friday afternoon, which was less than 24 hours after a fire sent state employees running for their lives.

Fire investigators have determined what started Thursday's fire that caused $250,000 in damage. The question now is how to prevent a similar fire from happening in the future.

A scary situation at a downtown office building Thursday afternoon as firefighters contained a large fire. Within minutes, things were under control.

"Our investigators found several butts in the area, and we believe that was the cause of the fire," said Springfield Fire Chief Ken Fustin.

A careless smoker, throwing their used cigarette into a bush. Something Chief Fustin says could have easily been prevented.

"We think so. We think that building had an unofficial smoking area at a picnic table right on the corner of the building with some bushes and trees," said Chief Fustin.

"I think that they could of disposed of their cigarettes in different way. Just for the safety of everyone else," said a witness to the fire, Jodi Clark.

The sights and sounds of firefighters at work brought a frightening flashback for Jodi Clark.

"I was in a house fire and almost died. So luckily my brother saved me. So I did mine in return," said Clark.

Without a second thought, Clark made her way to the nearest door.

"Ran inside, it was already smokey in the lobby, banging on the doors and couldn't find any doors unlocked," said Clark.

And when she finally found an open door...

"I smelled the smoke, I heard the glass shattering and it just brought back memories, but you know I wanted out when I got out so I just wanted to make sure everyone else got out," said Clark.

Her wish came true as all 24 state employees escaped without injury. Their offices, the only ones inside the building.

"I'm glad it was empty and nobody got hurt," said Clark.

As the full investigation continues fire officials want to remind everyone, that state law says that you must smoke at least 15 feet away from any building. They also say if you smoke use designed cigarette receptacles.Downtown Fire, A Frightening Reminder For One Local Woman

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