ALEXANDER COUNTY, IL (KFVS) - Firefighters were out all night on Jan 5. and through Jan. 6 after a home and pool house in Alexander County, Illinois caught fire.
Arson investigators began looking into the suspicious fire that same night.
Officials say there was no electricity in the home when the fire started.
Firefighters were instructed to let the home burn to the ground as it was a total loss.
The original home owner, Wayne Coleson, says vandalism has been a problem for years.
Coleson took a buyout from FEMA in the summer of 2011 after a flood came close to his home.
Before the fire started, on Jan. 5, Coleson flagged down Heartland News Reporter Sherae Honeycutt to explain the damage to the property over the years.
Looking at the home before the fire you could see it was torn apart.
"It's terrible. My wife won't even come over," Coleson said. "Every time you come back over something else is gone."
Coleson says he reports the vandalism to The Alexander County Sheriff's Department.
"They'll just come and they'll write a report, and you just don't hear no more about it," Coleson said.
The day after our interview with Coleson, what was left of the house, was gone.
Coleson was able to find a note his son wrote him in 2009. One of the only things that survived the fire.
When asked what it felt like to see his home like this, Coleson said, "it hurts."
Coleson says he built the home himself with the help of his friends.
"We built it a piece at a time as we could," Coleson said.
Building a new home is something he would like to do, but he's not sure when.
"Well, I don't know," Coleson said. "We're still waiting to see about the buyout."
Coleson says the home wasn't insured and believes it was arson.
The cause of the fire is still being investigated.
Our attempt to contact FEMA directly about the buyout was unsuccessful.