BY SAM SCINTA WEEKLY REPORTER
The home is owned by Mike and Sheri Engel, who lived there with their son. Although there were no people inside the house at the time of the blaze, two dogs in the home perished.
“A neighbor reported smelling some smoke in the area and went out to investigate. They saw some smoke coming from the house and when they realized they couldn’t do anything they called the fire department,” O’Fallon Fire Department Deputy Chief Timothy Claxton told the Weekly.
The homeowners were at the wedding reception for their oldest son in St. Louis at the time.
“The blaze started in the back of the house, towards the kitchen area,” Claxton added. “We were able to get that fire put out, but it was already in the attic at that point in time, and with all that oxygen up there, it caused some pretty substantial damage to the house.”
Crews were still sifting through the house late into the evening, trying to look for any hidden flames or embers that could reignite the fire.
“At this point in time, I would say that there is fire damage to about 25 percent of the house, smoke damage to 100 percent of the house, and water damage to about 50 or 75 percent of the house,” Claxton said. “The worst part about the fire is almost always the smoke and water damage.”
The rural location of the property could have provided a pivotal disadvantage to the first responders, but the fire department had a tremendous response.
“From what I remember about talking to the dispatcher, from time of the call to our arrival on the scene was about seven minutes. That’s not bad for being out in the country,” Claxton continued. “But again, we were very fortunate that we got here when we did and that nobody was hurt.”
Fire fighters from multiple different departments responded, including O’Fallon, Troy, and Lebanon.