Metro-East News

Man left homeless, dog killed in Cahokia house fire

Firefighters gather in front of a home in the 1000 block of St. Margaret Drive in Cahokia Wednesday evening shortly after the fire that destroyed it was extinguished.
Firefighters gather in front of a home in the 1000 block of St. Margaret Drive in Cahokia Wednesday evening shortly after the fire that destroyed it was extinguished. News-Democrat

The home that had been in a Cahokia man’s family since 1968 was destroyed by a fire Wednesday night.

Joe Barnhart said he returned from work to the home that he’s lived in off and on for decades shortly before 6:30 p.m. to see smoke coming from the eaves. When he opened the back door, he saw the inside of the home engulfed.

“I went inside to try to get my medicine and my dog, but I had to come out,” Barnhart said.

The dog died in the fire.

Cahokia Fire Chief Stephen Robbins said firefighters arrived to find heavy fire and smoke coming out of the windows and door in the front of the home. Even though the kitchen and living room of the home were ablaze, firefighters were able to douse the flames in an interior attack. Robbins said firefighters had the blaze under control in 20 minutes but summoned mutual aid from Camp Jackson, Dupo and Prairie Du Pont firefighters. No one was reported injured in the fire.

Barnhart said he’d just gotten the home back under his name “a couple months ago.”

Neither Barnhart nor Robbins knew how the fire started. Robbins said investigators from the state fire marshal’s office would assist in the investigation. Red Cross representatives also had been contacted to assist Barnhart.

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