Fire Destroys Garage, Damages House and Neighboring Buildings in Effingham (ADDL INFO)


Published on June 20 2012 5:50 am
Last Updated on July 14 2013 12:07 pm
Written by Greg Sapp

Fire destroyed a garage and damaged the house at 413 Illinois in Effingham Tuesday evening.

Effingham firefighters were called just before 6:30pm to the home of Jude and Susan Dutton, a house owned by Brad Rohlfing.  The fire totaled the garage, which was detached from the home, but it also burned off most of the back of the house.  The remainder of the interior suffered some smoke damage.

The heat of the fire melted the aluminum siding on the west side of a neighboring apartment building at 411 W. Illinois and also damaged a neighboring building and garage at 415 W. Illinois to the west of Dutton's garage.

Firefighters were hampered by downed power lines that had fallen from a power pole and were still live.

Effingham Fire Chief Joe Holomy is estimating the damage to Dutton's garage and the contents inside at $30,000, and the damage to the Dutton residence at $22,000.  The 411 W. Illinois structural damage was estimated at $6,000, and the residence and garage at 415 W. Illinois sustained exterior heat damage estimated at $5,000.

No one was injured.

Jude Dutton was at work at the time the fire began.  Susan Dutton had been at home, and took some items to her husband.  When she returned minutes later, the fire was already underway.

A full still alarm was sounded once firefighters reached the scene and saw the number of structures in the vicinity of the fire.  Teutopolis and Watson firefighters were called to staff the Effingham stations while Effingham firefighters were at the fire scene.

An investigation determined that the fire originated in the northeast corner of the garage near the service entrance.  Various paints, thinners, aerosol cans and similar items were found in the debris in that part of the garage.  Holomy said those items would've intensified the fire in its early stages.  The exact cause of the ignition has not been determined. 

Holomy said the fire is being ruled as accidental.

Firefighters cleared the scene about 8:30pm.