PENFIELD -- A Penfield man was hospitalized for smoke inhalation after fire destroyed his house Saturday afternoon.

Gifford Fire Chief Rich McFadden said Jim Evans was "up and walking around and talking," but McFadden convinced him to be checked out. Evans was taken by ambulance to Carle Hospital, Urbana, before being transferred to a Springfield hospital.

Evans was the sole occupant of the house, which McFadden termed a total loss.

Evans called in the fire at his two-story frame home, located at 404 East Street, a little after 2:18 p.m. McFadden said Evans indicated his basement had flames and smoke from the furnace.

McFadden said the basement had "several feet of water" in it, which might have caused the furnace to malfunction.

The fire extended up an interior wall into the attic.

"The attic is where the worst of the fire was," McFadden said.

An aerial truck from the Paxton department was put to good used fighting the fire in the attic-roof area, McFadden said.

In addition to Paxton, Gifford was aided by departments from Rantoul, Ogden-Royal, Thomasboro and Blue Grass (Potomac area).

McFadden estimated 40,000 gallons of water was trucked to the scene. Penfield does not have fire hydrants.

No neighboring properties were damaged.

An estimated 35 firefighters responded.

dhinton@rantoulpress.com