Mobile home burns, displacing family
A family of ten, including one terminally ill boy and one infant, lost their home in a fire on Sunday in Pontoon Beach.
Kristin Willumat, her six children and three family members moved into the home in Holiday Manufactured Home Community in February.
On Sunday at around 11 a.m., a nearby shed caught fire and spread to the house at 140 Horseshoe Lake Road, Willumat said.
By the time the fire was out, the home was a total loss.
No one was injured during the fire, but nearly everything in the home was destroyed.
“Everyone is physically OK, but mentally not,” Willumat said.
Willumat has six boys who are 11, 10, 7, 6 and 2 years old, along with a 7-month-old. The three family members are 13, 16 and 17-years-old.
One of the boys, 7, is terminally ill with a rare genetic deficiency disease, and the infant boy has several brain disorders, Willumat’s mother, Sherry Rene, said.
The 7-year-old boy’s feeding tubes were destroyed in the fire, Rene said.
Five of the boys are staying at Rene’s house in Greenville. Willumat and the other children are staying at a hotel with help from the Red Cross.
“They are all very overwhelmed at this time,” Rene said in a Facebook message on Monday. “She’s an amazing mother who works her tail off. She took in three children who she is fostering. Everyone lost everything.”
Willumat is a community manager of the park, where she was renting the double-wide trailer.
On Tuesday, Willumat watched from her car as an insurance adjuster surveyed the damage. Children’s toys and bikes were strewn around the burned home.
Willumat said they believe the fire was electrical. When the shed, which was close to the house, caught fire, it quickly spread to the house.
The family is asking the community for help as they try to replace everything they’ve lost.
“This close to holidays and all the ongoing medical issues with the children and fostering other children, they have to replace Christmas decor,” Rene said. “It’s not about just today, but also about the upcoming things that have to be replaced.”
Rene said the family needs the following items: food, diapers, wipes, formula, shoes, all household items, bunk beds, mattresses, two cribs, kitchenware, bedding, twin size beds, a queen bed and furniture.
Drop-off locations are at the Cricket Wireless store in Collinsville, Willie’s Place in Greenville and Holiday Manufactured Home Community Office on Horseshoe Lake Road in Granite City.
Willumat said one of the girls, Brooke Burns, 17, saw the fire in the back of the trailer where her bedroom was located, and helped everyone get out safely.
The family also has a dog and a kitten, Rene said. The dog escaped from the fire almost immediately, but the kitten was trapped inside for about two hours until a firefighter finally got to it and gave it oxygen.
Rene said the kitten is doing well.
The Illinois State Fire Marshal’s Office is trying to determine the cause of the fire.