DECATUR, Ill. (WCIA) — It was a frightening morning for a dozen people who woke up to their home on fire.
No one was hurt, but those who were once homeless and given a second chance are homeless once again. The fire happened early Monday morning, in the 1000-block of North Union Street.
Residents lost everything.
“I lost everything; all my clothes and shoes, winter coat, all that’s got burned up.”
Words from a man who opened his home to those without one.
“I was lying in bed asleep and I heard someone yell, ‘Fire!'”
Clarence Durbin is just happy everyone made it out alive.
“I had to go outside at 3:30 in the morning in my t-shirt. I didn’t have any shoes on. I was freezing. I couldn’t keep from shaking.”
Durbin paid the rent for this now burned-out two-story hosue and allowed those living on the street to have a place to stay at night.
“I didn’t know what to do.”
Bettina Ryan was one of twelve people staying in the home.
“I was shocked. Only thing I could think to do was getting out of there, yelling for my son.”
Fire officials say an electric heater in Durbin’s bedroom started the blaze.
“Remember, space heaters need space. We recommend three feet clearance around all combustible materials.”
It’s a tough lesson to learn.
“I’m just trying my best. It’s going to take me a couple of days, but I can find another place. I’m glad everybody got out.”
The Red Cross is helping those who were displaced with shelter and clothing, so everyone has a place to sleep Tuesday night.
Fire officials say incidents like these are preventable. With winter around the corner, they suggest people not use extension cords for electric heaters and remind you to check smoke detectors.
Those in the home did not sound any alarm.