Metro-East News

Belleville fire leaves house a ‘total loss’

House fire at 37 Oakleigh Drive, rural Belleville

Multiple fire units were called Saturday afternoon to a fire on Oakleigh Drive in Belleville.
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Multiple fire units were called Saturday afternoon to a fire on Oakleigh Drive in Belleville.

After a Belleville woman forgot something at her house, she drove back to find her home on fire.

She arrived home, saw smoke in her garage and called 911.

“It’s lucky she came home because with everyone being gone for the weekend ... there could have been significant damage, more than there is now,” said Chester Borkowski, district chief of Northwest St. Clair County Fire Protection.

Just before 1 p.m. Saturday, the Northwest St. Clair County Fire Protection Department was called to the structure fire at the end of Oakleigh Drive. Borkowski said when crews arrived, there were flames showing on the first and second floors of the home. The fire later spread to the attic.

Two hours later, crews were still battling the flames. More than five departments arrived to assist with the fire, but Borkowski said because the fire was so widespread, it was hard to fight.

“It was a difficult fire to get to because it was so far into the walls and up into the attic prior to our arrival,” Borkowski said. “It’s not habitable; it’s a total loss.”

The cause of the fire remains undetermined, and Borkowski said they most likely won’t know what happened until later Saturday night, maybe even Sunday morning. The fire was heavy on the first floor when they entered the house, so they are looking at that area.

No one was in the home at the time of the fire, and there were no injuries, Borkowski said.

The homeowner was able to get her pets out of the home, he added.

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