Metro-East News

Mother, two boys escape house fire in O’Fallon

O’Fallon fire chief talks about fire that destroys home

O'Fallon Fire Chief Brent Saunders said a home on Dartmouth Drive in O'Fallon, Illinois, caught fire late Tuesday. No one was injured, but the house was said to be "a total loss" by homeowners.
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O'Fallon Fire Chief Brent Saunders said a home on Dartmouth Drive in O'Fallon, Illinois, caught fire late Tuesday. No one was injured, but the house was said to be "a total loss" by homeowners.

A mother and her children escaped a house fire late Tuesday night in O’Fallon. Owners of the house on Dartmouth Drive said the home was “a total loss.”

O’Fallon Fire Department said the cause of the fire was still under investigation. The fire chief and an official from the state fire marshal’s office were at the rental home by 10 a.m. Wednesday, talking to residents and inspecting the damage. No one was injured.

Amber Pearson said she and her two boys, ages 6 and 15, were downstairs when the fire broke out. Firefighters arrived before 11 p.m. Tuesday and saw heavy flames coming from the home.

“We were just getting ready for bed and the lights started going out one by one and then there was a weird smell and then we started seeing smoke on the ceiling, through the kitchen,” Pearson said. “We were all downstairs, which is very, very uncommon. We’d never be awake at that time. It was really weird. We were so lucky.”

Pearson said her family will most likely stay in a hotel until they can find a new home.

The homeowners, Michael and Ladonna Feldhake, said they didn’t know about the fire until Wednesday morning. The couple said Pearson has been a tenant of the house for at least four years.

“Our biggest concern was to make sure everyone was OK,” Ladonna Feldhake said outside the home Wednesday.

O’Fallon Fire Chief Brent Saunders said firefighters were at the home until around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, battling the fire.

“Actually, I was the first one to arrive from the fire department and we had heavy fire showing from the entire structure,” Saunders said. “Everyone was out of the house, including their pets. I think they had a couple reptiles that were still in the structure, but the dogs and all the occupants were all out of the house when we arrived.”

Heat from the fire also melted the siding of a neighboring home.

Kaitlyn Schwers: 618-239-2526, @kaitlynschwers

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