Firefighters work at the scene of a house blaze northeast of Charleston, near Rardin, on Friday.


CHARLESTON -- Firefighters contained and extinguished a fire in a two-story house east of Rardin on Friday during frigid weather. The fire destroyed the house, but caused no injuries.

Seven Hickory-Morgan Fire Protection District Chief Bill Strode said firefighters were dispatched shortly after 9 a.m. Friday to a report of structure fire at 14827 N. County Road 2080E, northeast of Charleston. He said they arrived to find smoke emanating from all four corners of the house and flames showing through the roof.

Strode said firefighters from the Ashmore, Hindsboro and Humboldt fire protection districts were called to the scene to assist Seven Hickory-Morgan. He said Lincoln and Cooks Mills fire protection district firefighters staged at their stations in case additional assistance was needed. He added that the Charleston Fire Department sent an ambulance crew to the scene as a precaution and the American Red Cross sent volunteers.

"I am very appreciative and very grateful for everyone who showed up to help," Strode said. He noted that this was a great turnout for volunteer firefighters after 9 a.m. during the work week.

Strode said the firefighters contended with wind out of the north that fueled the flames. He said they also dealt with frigid temperatures that turned the ground into a "hockey rink" of frozen water from firefighting hoses, adding that this made for treacherous walking conditions.

Firefighters kept the fire from spreading to an adjacent detached garage and ultimately extinguished the blaze, Strode said. The fire destroyed the house and its cause is still under investigation, he said.

A family of three had resided in the home, Strode said. The daughter was at home at the time and escaped from the house as the fire spread, he said. The chief added that firefighters saved the family's dog and cat from the fire. The firefighters were on scene for approximately five hours.

The American Red Cross serving South Central Illinois sent three volunteers to the fire scene, plus an emergency response vehicle that is based in Decatur. Valerie Goodwin, a disaster program manager with the Red Cross, said the volunteers provided hot coffee and sandwiches, snacks, and bottled water to the emergency responders as part of a canteen service. She said the coffee was donated by McDonald's in Charleston.

Goodwin said the Red Cross also provided immediate emergency assistance to the family who resides on the property. She said this service can include assistance with temporary lodging, clothing, food and more, based on the needs of those being helped.


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