Metro-East News

Metro-east family narrowly avoids another Dec. 19 fire tragedy

Fire chief explains what happened

State Park, Illinois, Fire Chief Herb Simmons Jr., discusses what happened in a home fire Monday at 2800 Arlington near Collinsville, Illinois.
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State Park, Illinois, Fire Chief Herb Simmons Jr., discusses what happened in a home fire Monday at 2800 Arlington near Collinsville, Illinois.

For more than four decades, Patricia Everts has been a little sour during the holiday season. On Dec. 19, 1975, Everts lost two of her daughters in a trailer park fire in Caseyville.

Everts lost a 3-year-old and a 2-year-old in a fire at Chevy Chase Mobile Home Park. Ever since, the holidays haven’t been the same for Everts and her family.

Fast forward 41 years and Everts narrowly avoided another Dec. 19 tragedy on Monday. She is dealing with the after effects of another structure fire — this one to a residence she’s owned since 1993 at 2800 Arlington. Fortunately, there were no fatalities in this fire. Everts’ daughter, who lives at the residence, was shaken, but refused to be taken to the hospital after she and a man who were inside the structure at the time of the fire were able to make it out safely.

Everts now lives in Granite City and her daughter lives in the one-story structure.

“I didn’t think about anything,” Everts said after hearing about the fire. “I just threw my clothes on and got down here (from Granite City) as fast as I could.”

The residence sustained heavy fire, smoke and water damage throughout. Three dogs and a cat also were able to safely escape from the structure, Everts said.

State Park Fire Chief Herb Simmons, Jr., said the cause of the fire is under investigation and the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office was being called in to investigate what started the blaze. Everts said someone was working on the furnace at the residence when the fire started, but she was unsure if that was the cause.

Firefighters from State Park, Hollywood Heights, Fairmont City and Caseyfille fought bone-chilling temperatures when they were called to the scene at 7:14 p.m. Simmons said when firefighters arrived that an attic at the residence was engulfed in flames with heavy smoke throughout. It took about 20 minutes to put the fire out.

Water used to put the fire out made for icy conditions around the residence, which is just down the road and around the corner from Fairmont Park.

“It’s very slippery and wet,” Simmons said. “There were no injuries to any firefighters. The weather does hamper our services and slows us down a little bit, but this (fire fight) went over very well.”

The American Red Cross is giving emergency assistance to the family that was displaced from the residence.

Don O’Brien: 618-239-2626, @DOBrienBND

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