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Johnston City, IL

Home Destroyed by Fire

Home Destroyed by Fire
By: Arnold Wyrick

Johnston City, IL - There's never a good time for a fire to destroy your home and that's exactly how a Johnston City couple started their day on Thursday.

Bill Mitchem left the home around 5 o'clock that morning for work. His wife Nancy left for work a few minutes before the Johnston City Fire Department received the call that the house at 604 West 5th street was on fire.

When firefighters arrived they were greeted by flames bursting through the front of the house.

"We fought the fire for approximately 40 minutes from the front of the house to the back of the house as it spread. But it was to engulfed by the time we got here to save the home, and unfortunately most everything inside is a loss," Chief Tom Burton said.

For Bill and his wife the sight of their scorched out home was more than they could take as they watched the few remaining curls of smoke life into the air.

"Well you just wake up some mornings and you never know, then you have nothing, that's it," Mitchem said as tears welled up in his eyes.

His son tried to comfort him as he placed his arm around his father. But the loss could been seen written across both men's faces.

"That's just about everything in there. A lot of it is irreplaceable, like my music, my guitars, and pictures of my parents you can never replace," Mitchem said.

As the family stood and watched Chief Burton and the Illinois State Fire Marshall began looking for clues to determine how the fire ignited.

"I don't believe this is a suspicious fire. We believe it started in or around the breaker box on the wall of the front room. But we just don't know exactly what sparked it," Chief Burton said.

Family friends tell Heartland News they'll do whatever they can to help the Mitchem's get back on their feet.

"Well all we can. I mean we rented it to them and we put a lot of work into the place. I told them they could stay with us until they find something," says Leon Marnier.

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