SALINE TOWNSHIP, Ill.- Firefighters responded to a home fire Tuesday morning in Madison County outside Highland, Illinois. There were nearly 70 firefighters from 10 different departments in the area. The smoke was still billowing at 6 a.m. five hours after the first call home.
Three people were sleeping in the house when the fire started. Firefighters said the people inside could not have survived if not for the smoke detectors not only working but also connected.
Although gratefully alive, the family is now looking at what is left, almost nothing. The 4,484-square-foot residence is perfectly visible. A University of Missouri diploma, visible on the outside, was probably the only thing that survived.
The family asked for privacy and Highland-Pierron Fire Chief Phil Decker declined to speak to the camera because of the family’s emotions. He really answered FOX 2 questions.
The cause of the fire is now being investigated by the Illinois State Fire Marshal. Chief Decker said the homeowner reported a possible lightning strike Saturday that disrupted half of the home’s outlets and left areas on the main floor feeling “hot.”
Residents scheduled an electrician, who had not been able to do so before the disaster.
“I don’t want to see anyone have to go through that,” neighbor Joe Groboski said.
He said he could see the house from his kitchen. He remembers hearing lightning bolts over the weekend.
“Well, the storm is really bad. It’s lightning and wind, “Groboski said.” It’s very bad, with a lot of lightning. “
Pokie Wildhaber and his wife visit friends in the neighborhood. He commented that firefighters used “a lot of water to put it out.”
The crew used nearly 200,000 gallons of water, firefighters said. Chief Decker also dismissed the rumor about fire hydrants. He said all hydrants are working at regular capacity. Fire departments carry water, but he said it’s common practice for rural areas like this.