Effingham Daily News, Effingham, IL

Local News

February 13, 2011

Fire destroys house

Fire so hot it melts siding makes house uninhabitable

EFFINGHAM — It hadn’t been many years since Jason Vahling had remodeled an old home at 206 W. Kentucky.

    “We pretty much remodeled it from the inside out,” said Vahling, who had been renting out the home for about two years.

    The extensive renovations went up in smoke and flames Friday afternoon. Effingham firefighters were called to the scene at about 1 p.m., but not in time to stop a fire so hot that it melted siding from one side of the home.

    Damage appeared to be concentrated on the east side of the home, where Vahling and tenant Becky Thompson were watching firefighters limit the damage as best they could.

    bedroom home alone.

    Effingham Fire Chief Joe Holomy said someone at nearby Effingham Equity called in the fire at 12:49 p.m. When firefighters arrived, heavy smoke was billowing from the eaves of the building and flames were shooting out an east side window that had been destroyed by heat.

    Holomy said Thompson had last been in the home around noon and had turned up the thermostat before she left for the afternoon.

    Holomy said it has not been determined what caused the fire, adding that fire department personnel would join a representative from the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s office Monday for a more extensive investigation.

    While nobody was home at the time of the fire, Holomy said Thompson lost many of her belongings. Moreover, the chief said, heavy fire and smoke damage has rendered the home uninhabitable.

    Teutopolis and Watson firefighters covered the Effingham stations during the call. And, Teutopolis firefighters investigated a gas leak at Motel 6, 1305 N. Keller Dr. at 1:20 p.m.

    Holomy said the leak was coming from a clothes dryer at the motel. Ameren Illinois personnel were called and the gas was turned off until the problem could be fixed.

    Teutopolis firefighters returned to the Effingham station at 2 p.m. Effingham firefighters cleared the Kentucky Avenue scene at 3:56 p.m.

    Vahling said he had homeowners insurance and Thompson had renter’s insurance.

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