The cause of a structure fire is under investigation at this hour after fire totally consumed a Jacksonville home overnight.
Jacksonville Fire units were called to the scene of a house fire at 900 Beesley Street just before midnight. Jacksonville Fire Captain Matt Summers says crews could see a large amount of flame and plume from several blocks away while they were en route to the scene.
He says the single-story home at the corner of Beelesy and Farrell was fully involved when they arrived. “The main structure that was on fire was unoccupied, it was in the process of being rehabbed at the time and no one was living there thankfully. But it was fully involved and we went immediately to an aggressive defensive attack pulling multiple lines.
We actually hit the fire with the master stream on the top of the [fire] truck along with hand lines to quickly reset it and try to cool it down. We also had lines operating on the north and south side to try and stop exposures from burning, as siding on a couple of houses was already melting because it was so hot.”
Summers says fire had spread to both a detached garage behind the home as well as a neighboring house to the north when crews began battling the blaze. A single female resident of the neighboring home was rescued along with her pets by firefighters as fire began to spread from the exterior wall to the attic of her home.
“We removed an occupant, a woman out of the house to the north and got her to safety along with the help of Jacksonville Police. The South Jacksonville Fire Department also assisted us and we appreciate that. All the firefighters did a good job and again kept those exposures from burning and pretty much saved them. But the main initial fire structure was almost burnt to the ground before we really got there.”
Summers says two different power lines crossing overhead were arcing during the initial attack on the fire. One of the lines crossed the driveway which burnt apart and fell on a GMC Sonoma pickup that was parked in the driveway. The other line fell into a tree next to the house which started to ignite at one point.
Ameren Illinois secured the scene and checked to make sure gas was not running to the structure. No one was injured during the operation and Summers says as of press time, he was unaware that the neighbor had sustained any injures.
According to the fire department report, the homeowner was out of town, however, her father arrived just after fire crews were on the scene.
He said they had been renovating the home and had just finished putting on a new roof “not that long ago”. He said they had moved a truck out of the back driveway earlier in the day, and that they had last worked on the home itself approximately one week ago.
Ameren officials confirmed there was no power running to the home and there was no electric meter in the box at the time. Summers says it is unknown how the fire started, and the incident remains under investigation.