Firefighters had to work against flames, gusty winds
Dave Harland Jr. and Jeff Fairall were not home when their one-story house on Route 18, just west of Streator, caught fire Wednesday.
"I went to work a little after 2 p.m.," said Harland Jr., who works at Owens-Illinois glass factory in Streator. "I had called ComEd because a pole in front of the house was leaning, and the lines were hanging low. Then, at work, I get a message from my buddy who had driven by telling me the house is on fire. Maybe there was an arc that started it, I don't know.
"Everything I own is in that house."
No one was injured, and their dog escaped the home unharmed.
Reading Fire Protection District responded at 3:06 p.m. to the house at 1537 Route 18 and found the front roof of the home in flames.
"Due to the high winds, we activated MABAS (Mutual Aid BoxAlarm System) and nearly a dozen departments came to aid in the fire," Reading Fire Department Chief Paul Losey said, as crews started to cleanup at around 5:30 p.m. "The house is a total loss, and as of now, the cause of the fire is undetermined."
For the first couple hours, crews had to continually work on flames fueled by the gusty winds as they shot through different areas of the roof. A field behind the house caught fire because of the conditions.
"The wind fought us right from the get-go," Losey said. "It made things pretty tough there for a while."
The Reading Fire Department was assisted by departments from Streator, Lostant, Grand Ridge, Wenona, Cornell, Oglesby, Leonore and Long Point. Streator firefighters assisted with their six-wheeler and an air truck that helps fill up firefighters air bottles.