Metro-East News

Son, husband escape fire that kills Marissa woman

FEMA fire prevention and safety awareness

FEMA Regional Administrator, Andrew Velasquez and Fire Commissioner for the city of Chicago, Jose Santiago discuss fire prevention and safety.
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FEMA Regional Administrator, Andrew Velasquez and Fire Commissioner for the city of Chicago, Jose Santiago discuss fire prevention and safety.

The heat and flames kept firefighters from immediately entering a home in Marissa on Saturday evening, where a woman died in a house fire.

Janet Hughes was pronounced dead at the scene, Marissa Fire Chief Jim Perrine said on Tuesday.

Michael Baum, Hughes’ son, and Randy Hughes, her husband, had escaped the house at 201 S. Grace Street before firefighters arrived, according to the Marissa Fire Department.

Perrine said Janet Hughes had limited mobility and used a walker.

The home was engulfed when firefighters arrived, and Perrine said the crews had “a pretty good response time” and the fire had been burning for some time before they were called.

Baum and Hughes told firefighters the three were asleep when the fire started.

Three departments, Marissa, Lenzburg and Tilden, were sent to the home on Grace Street at about 7:50 p.m. Saturday to find the house engulfed in flames. Two people were outside and told authorities a third person was still inside. Firefighters called for more assistance from New Athens, St. Libory, Fayetteville and Sparta fire departments.

Firefighters “made an attack” on the fire, according to a news release, but were unable to immediately get very far inside the home because of the heat and flames. Once the fire was under control, they were able to get into the house and find Janet Hughes.

Reporter Mary Cooley follows the crimes and court goings-on in the metro-east; she has a special affinity for the oddities that make life in Southern Illinois interesting. Mary has a journalism degree from the University of Missouri at Columbia and previously worked as a copy editor at newspapers in the Southeast.


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