Fire ruins three homes on one block

Fire ruins three homes on one block
By: Erica Byfield

CAIRO, Ill. - Firefighters from Alexander County spent the wee hours of the Thursday morning battling a blaze that destroyed three homes in Cairo. "I ain't worried about the house, because you can always find another house," said Darrell Thomas.

Hours after a fire ripped through his home Thomas can't help but walk through the hallways and remember the good times.
He's one of 13 children, born and raised in Cairo that considers a plum two story house on the 400 block of Martin Luther King Drive home.

Since the fire melted memories of his past, Thomas thoughts are with his elderly mother. Thankful she was not here when the flames spilled in through the windows "to replace a life is hard" he said.

The fire started next door, Cairo Fire Chief John Meyer says the owner of the home fell asleep with a lit cigarette in his hand, setting a chair on fire.

Flames quickly spread to an abandoned house too, leaving gapping wholes in the siding. So, on the one block, three homes lost all in a matter of hours. The question for Thomas now is whether or not to re-build? His answer, "There is a chance to rebuild this one but, it's hard to find the people to do the contracting work."

Thomas adds it's ironic in a part of the Heartland lined with eyesores; his home goes up in smoke, "times ain't getting easier, it's getting harder."
He goes on to say in times like this he's blessed to have a large family because he needs a shoulder to lean on "we still have other family, it's a good thing nobody got hurt" said Thomas.   
Firefighters from Cairo, Mounds, Mound City and Horseshoe Lake all responded to put out the fire.