Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

December 14, 2013

5th Street house a 'total loss' after blaze


Effingham Daily News

---- — A house is being described as a total loss after fire filled the home of Judith Rodgers at 610 South Fifth Street at approximately 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

According to Rodgers' granddaughter Amber McCord, who lives next door to the burned home, her grandmother awoke from a nap to find her home on fire. After Rodgers and her boyfriend left the home, McCord's friend Justin Skidwell had to keep Rodgers from returning into the home to search for her pets.

"She tried going back into the house, and I told her to stay out," said Skidwell.

Rodgers was transported to St. Anthony's Memorial Hospital for a flare-up in her asthma due to smoke inhalation, and received a treatment for shock, said Rodgers' daughter Brenda Brown. Brown added that she thought her mother is doing better after treatment.

According to Effingham Fire Department Captain Bob Hoffman, Emergency Medical Services informed him that Rodgers was transported to the hospital for shock and not smoke inhalation. Her specific condition was not known by press time.

Hoffman said that one of Rodgers' pets didn't survive the fire. Rodgers' cat escaped, but her dog was found dead under her bed.

A full-still was called for the blaze, which brought firefighters from Teutopolis to man the Effingham station, allowing approximately 20 firefighters and two fire trucks to fight the blaze.

"The house was fully involved when we showed up," said Hoffman.

With flames shooting out of every window at the front of the home, firefighters initially used a tanker truck and a "deck gun to knock down the flames," said Hoffman. Firefighters then connected to a hydrant and continued an "interior attack," Hoffman added.

Once the fire was contained, firefighters then continued searching for any additional flames and salvaged any items they could. According to Hoffman, there wasn't much to salvage from the home. Firefighters remained on scene late into the evening until they could determine there was no risk of further fire.

"We don't want to be out here at four in the morning fighting another fire," said Hoffman.

The family looked for any more salvageable items, followed by a private construction firm boarding up the house overnight, said Hoffman.

According to Brown, her mother had lived in the home for approximately 10 years. Brown added that her mother will be taken care of by family until she figures out where she will live in the future.

"The house went up really quick," said McCord. "I was scared my grandma wasn't going to be okay."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Rodgers' condition is unknown as St. Anthony's doesn't release patient information.

Tony Huffman can be reached at 217-347-7151, ext. 138, or tony.huffman@effinghamdailynews.com.