Blaze destroys home

Donelle Pardee Whiting

Washington, Germantown Hills and Morton firefighters responded to a mutual aid call for a house fire in rural Tazewell County Monday night.

Capt. Bruce Hines with the Northern Tazewell County Fire Protection District said the home at the end of a one-lane drive off Wiegand Lane in rural Washington was a total loss and was unoccupied at the time of the fire. There were no injuries.

Hines, who supervised the 40 firefighters on the scene, added that it took about 45 minutes to an hour to put out the blaze.

Hines said the call came in about 8:30 p.m., and the house was fully engulfed by the time the first truck arrived on scene.

“You could see it burning from about a mile away,” Hines said. “We got it knocked down, but it was pretty well gone by the time we got here.”

Firefighters had to drive about five miles on winding rural roads before reaching the home. 

Because of a lack of fire hydrants and the location of the home, firefighters were unable to drive the trucks down to the house.

Firefighters used about 8,000 gallons of water putting out the blaze.

They set up a relay system through which tanker trucks pumped water into a basin. A second truck was then used to pump the water from the basin to the hoses firefighters used at the structure.

A nearby farmer working on his harvest also had to move a large semi that was blocking the road.

Hines said because of the size of the fire, he expected the men to be on scene until well past midnight.

“We will probably be out here until about 3 or 4 in the morning” looking for and hitting hot spots, he said.

Assistant Fire Chief for ast Peoria and fire investigator John Knapp was called to the scene to investigate the cause of the blaze.

Knapp could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Washington Fire Chief Mike Vaughn said the fire is still under investigation.

Prior to the fire, the home was listed for sale on several real estate Web sites for more than $450,000. Information on who owned the home was not available and the listings have been removed.