CHAMPAIGN — Shortly after he arrived at work last Monday morning at 5:30 a.m., St. Thomas More maintenance worker Melvin Peete stepped outside to take out a bag of garbage when he noticed smoke billowing out of the 21-year-old utility van he’d purchased from the school the previous year.

“I just thought it was steam,” he said, “but when I got closer, I said, ‘The van is on fire. What’s going on?’ I just ran in to get the fire extinguisher to try to put it out. Then by the time we went in to get the third one, it just went, ‘Whoosh.’

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