Faulty electrical wiring may have sparked the Christmas Eve house fire that sent a Pekin couple and a 5-year-old boy fleeing into the night, the city’s fire chief said Tuesday.
The three escaped thanks to the “quick actions” of the boy, who awoke the couple in their bedroom as flames flashed across the second-floor home’s walls, said Pekin Fire Chief Kurt Nelson. The upstairs residence was not equipped with smoke detectors.
No one, including residents of another apartment in the sub-divided home at 316 Caroline St., was injured in the fire that broke out shortly after 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
Firefighters found flames blasting from the upstairs living room window when they arrived.
The upstairs residents lost their home and all of their belongings in the blaze, Nelson said. While the downstairs apartment sustained water damage, virtually the entire second floor and roof will have to be repaired to save the structure, he said. Damage was estimated at $75,000.
The couple were identified as Patrick Fuller and Christina Caho. The names of the child and the residents of the downstairs apartment were not available. A second downstairs apartment was unoccupied.
Nelson said the couple had gone to bed and the boy had just plugged in the video game equipment he’d just received for Christmas when the living room electrical outlet he was using for the equipment and a TV set sparked. The three escaped down a rear outer stairway.
Caho said “they’d had some issues with a couple of the outlets” in the aging home, Nelson said. “They would pop” when items were plugged in.
An official cause for the fire has yet to be determined.
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