Metro-East News

Collinsville couple’s wedding plans on hold after neighbors’ grill sparks apartment fire

Collinsville apartment fire damage

An apartment building fire in Collinsville, Illinois, was caused by a grill knocked over by high winds on a wood deck, the fire department said. No one was injured in the blaze but some rooms are uninhabitable.
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An apartment building fire in Collinsville, Illinois, was caused by a grill knocked over by high winds on a wood deck, the fire department said. No one was injured in the blaze but some rooms are uninhabitable.

A fire that engulfed a Collinsville apartment building on Saturday night was caused by a blown over grill that set a wooden deck ablaze.

Just before 7 p.m. that night, first responders were called to the scene of an apartment building fire on Sandridge Drive, a news release from the Collinsville Fire Department stated. There, firefighters could see smoke coming from the rear of the building and noticed that the fire was spreading quickly due to high winds.

Crews worked for about two hours to control the blaze, the release stated. Mutual aid was requested from Troy, Edwardsville, Maryville, Fairview Heights, Glen Carbon, Caseyville, State Park and Granite City fire departments. Though no one was injured in the two-alarm fire, at least four of the eight apartments in the building were deemed uninhabitable due to fire, smoke and water damage.

According to the release, a barbecue grill on one of the wooden decks outside the building had been knocked over by the high winds that night. The Red Cross and Collinsville Emergency Management Agency have helped to find shelter for the families displaced because of the fire.

Two of the occupants displaced by the fire’s damage are Taylor Burnham and Christopher Taake, an engaged couple who was not home at the time. On Monday, Burnham said she and Taake were on their way from wedding planning in Evansville when they got a call from their landlord’s brother telling them that their building was on fire and asking if their dog, Chief, was at home.

Luckily, Burnham said, Chief was with them in the car. However, Burnham’s insulin and insulin pump supplies for her Type 1 diabetes were inside. Two days later, she is still unsure if she’ll be able to get them back and is waiting on the insurance company to get back to her in the meantime.

“Insurance doesn’t happen quickly,” she said. “So we’ve had to rely on our wedding fund, unfortunately.”

Burnham and Taake have decided to place their wedding, which was planned for May 11, on hold so they can deal with the repercussions of the fire. The couple’s friends made a GoFundMe account to help them with some of the expenses that come with losing their home.

“Everything is kind of at a standstill right now, but we are trying to stay as positive as possible,” she said. “We are so blessed and grateful for everyone who’s reached out to us and it’s a big eye-opener to see the community coming together for us.”

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Hana Muslic has been a public safety reporter for the Belleville News-Democrat since August 2018, covering everything from crime and courts to accidents, fires and natural disasters. She is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s College of Journalism and her previous work can be found in The Lincoln Journal-Star and The Kansas City Star.
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