PECATONICA (WIFR) -- A family of five is homeless after a fire rips through a Pecatonica house, destroying everything inside.
It happened at around 4 pm Sunday afternoon at a home in Westlake Village. Neighbors say the family moved in a couple of months ago and described the place as their dream house. Everyone made it out safe, including three people who were inside when the fire started. The homeowners say they were at a football game when the fire started on the back deck ad could see the smoke from more than a mile away. More than fifty fire fighters from 11 surrounding departments responded. .
"It’s horrible, it brings tears to me to just see this,” says neighbor Marie Korn. “It was an awful, awful experience. I never wanted to see a house on fire. You see them from a distance sometimes but you never want to see it in your neighborhood and we're all just glad they're all ok.”
The smoke hadn't even cleared before neighbors started pitching in to help the family. The community center is already filling up with donations of basic necessities like clothes, toiletries, and shoe, even dog treats.
“I was talking to the little boy and he had his dog Sammy, and as we were playing with the dog, I looked down at his feet and this little boy didn't even have his shoes because he ran out of the house without a pair of shoes or a jacket and I thought, “I need to get this little boy some shoes,’" says Angie Sakolari, one of the neighbors spearheading the effort to help out the family; they already have a place to stay for the next few nights.
Investigators say the preliminary cause of the fire is careless use of smoking materials. .