MOWEAQUA, Ill. (WCIA) – A house fire left a Moweaqua family, including two children, two teenagers and a 20-year-old, with nothing Wednesday. As they try to move on, their grandmother is asking the community to help keep them afloat.
“He just keeps wanting to go home. He’s three, what do you tell a 3-year-old?” Deanie Blades said.
3-year-old Conrad, 9-year-old Esme, 15-year-old Ava, 17-year-old Scotty, 19-year-old Valerie, and their mother – Ulysia Blades – no longer have a home.
“My grandson’s room is hanging off the back of the house. I think, had this happened at night, we probably wouldn’t have them here today,” Deanie Blades said.
While she’s heartbroken, the children’s grandmother, Deanie Blades, is grateful everyone made it out safely.
“But then they had to stand here and watch everything that they own just go up in smoke,” she said. “It only takes a few seconds for that to happen.”
She says one of the teens was looking out the window when she noticed thick smoke coming from underneath the house.
“The smoke just kept getting darker and darker,” Blades said.
So they grabbed each other, their two pets, and watched as the rest of their belongings were taken by flames.
“To walk around here and see their swing sets, and trampolines, and memories of them growing up,” she said.
Blades says it’s the only place most of her grandkids have called home.
“It was really pretty inside. Just all of it gone, just like that,” she said.
Her daughter isn’t ready to come back and see what’s left yet.
“It’s just little by little, just trying to figure out where do you go from here?” she said.
So, Deanie Blades says she stopped by Thursday to brainstorm ways she can help.
“I bawled. I couldn’t hold that back. But I tried to think of some of the good times,” she said.
She’s asking the village of Moweaqua for support on behalf of her daughter’s family.
“I’ve never been through a loss like this. Only to sit and watch them and know what they’re feeling right now,” she said.
A couple of fundraising efforts and the search for a new home are underway.
“Even when they do find something, they have nothing to put in it. Because there’s nothing in there that they can ever use again,” Blades said.
The principal of Central A&M High School announced the front lobby of the building will serve as a drop off location for donations.
“When you’re at the bottom, there’s no place to go but up. That’s what I keep trying to tell myself,” Blades said.
Moweaqua Fire Chief Ramiro Estrada said the fire broke out around 1 p.m. Wednesday and took a few hours to fully extinguish. He says when he arrived, the garage and a portion of the house were fully engulfed, and there was no way to save it. The Fire Marshal’s office is investigating the cause of the fire.
If you’d like to help out, you can donate to an online fundraiser here. You can drop off physical donations in the front lobby of Central A&M High School. Cash donations can also be made at the Casey’s gas station in Moweaqua.