Storage unit owner, renters react to early morning fire

Published: Oct. 17, 2021 at 9:23 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 18, 2021 at 7:48 AM CDT
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CARTERVILLE, Ill. (KFVS) - It was a busy day for firefighters in the Heartland on Sunday, October 17.

Three early morning fires broke out; two in Cape Girardeau and one in Williamson County, Illinois, where multiple storage units caught fire.

A fire destroyed parts of Amazon storage in Carterville.

“There was a fire at one point almost 400 feet long,” said Amazon storage owner Wesley Lehman.

Lehman said the fire did more damage than he imagined.

“It’s about 650 units altogether about 50 units that are really damaged or destroyed,” Lehman said.

He said he’s done what he can to ensure the safety of his tenants and their belongings. However, that all went up in flames overnight.

“I do nightly security checks, I have cameras, all kinds of things to protect people’s property and then the thing I didn’t protect them from is the thing that happens,” Lehman said.

Lehman explained there is not much he can do financially for his tenants. If they don’t have insurance for big items like this car they can lose out on a lot of money.

“I almost fell of my couch,” Janet Voss, a tenant said.

Her unit only has smoke damage. She said her family is lucky the fire didn’t spread just couple units down.

“There’s a ton of wood in here. If this would have started this would have been a really good fire,” Voss said.

Shay Miller’s unit was completely blocked by debris. However, he said she can live with that.

“It’s kind of surreal just seeing somebody’s stuff completely devastated and mine is fine,” Miller said.

Lehman said he not sure what future plans are in rebuilding. His biggest concern is his tenants’ belongings.

The Carterville Fire Department said the State Fire Marshall was present at the scene. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation.

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