Pair of house fires devastates family in Freeport

Published: Dec. 6, 2020 at 6:20 PM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - A pair of devastating fires just nine days apart, have one family mourning the loss of a loved one and their home.

“I’ve seen it where families have had two significant fires in their lifetime so to have it in nine days is extremely significant,” Freeport Fire Chief Brad Liggett said.

Just days before Thanksgiving, a home in the 900 block of Oak Ave. in Freeport went up in flames taking most of what was in the home with it, and one family whose name is not being released called for help.

“After the first fire, we were contacted by the sister of the mother. She notified us that she needed some clothing items and so we provided some used clothing items,” Emergency Disaster Services Coordinator with the Salvation Army in Freeport Sunshine Mergen said.

The family relocated, to the 700 block of Kenwood Ave. and just nine days after the move, that home caught fire, and a 38-year-old man died in the home.

“You get fires I mean everybody has a house fire but to have two house fires in a matter of nine days and also lose your child, I mean it’s unexplainable,” Mergen said. “I can’t even imagine the feelings and emotions that this woman is going through.”

Mergen says she reached back out to the family after the second fire, she now works with them to help anyway the organization can. Mergen says she can feel the pain this family is experiencing.

“We just looked at each other and I said can I give you a hug?” Mergen said. “She said please do and I held her and just that hug and that embrace. She was like that’s what I needed I just needed to know that somebody cared.”

Liggett says the first fire was caused by a candle on the first floor of the home. He says the second fire’s cause is still under investigation by the Illinois State Fire Marshalls.

Liggett says people need to prioritize fire prevention, and says the fire department will provide free smoke detectors to those who need them.

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