Firefighters battle blaze that claimed 1 Alton home, may have da - KMOV.com

Firefighters battle blaze that claimed 1 Alton home, may have damaged others

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A fire broke out Thursday night that destroyed a home in Alton, Il. (Credit: Madison County Illinois Scanner Page) A fire broke out Thursday night that destroyed a home in Alton, Il. (Credit: Madison County Illinois Scanner Page)

ALTON, Il (KMOV.com) -- A fire claimed one house and may have damaged others nearby in Alton Thursday night.

Flames engulfed a home in the 1200 block of West 9th after 8 p.m. and were visible from blocks away.

Shortly after 9, the home collapsed and the fire continued to burn.

"It's horrible, it's horrible...," said Todd Sokay, who's lived in the neighborhood for the last 4 years.

Since the home was unoccupied, firefighters worked to keep the flames from spreading to nearby homes. The Alton Fire Department tells News 4 that 3 people, including 2 kids, live in the nearest home. They are all okay and were able to move back into their home the following morning. There is heat damage to the side of the house and the electric meter needed to be replaced. 

Neighbors who saw the flames before firefighters arrived helped with the rescue. "I did go inside and I pulled out some of the animals that were in there, and we hurried up and got the car moved before power lines or anything fell down on top of the car or the people outside," said Tyler Graham, who's lived on W. 9th St. for the last 25 years. 

Graham says there have been several vacant house fires in the neighborhood this year. News 4 has reported on two of them. "We think that there's somebody doing it because it's very strange that these houses would catch on fire and they would all be vacant," said Graham. 

Sokay has noticed an increase in vacant house fires as well. He attributes it to the colder weather. "I think people just need a place to stay warm at this time of year," said Sokay. 

The Alton Fire Department says the home was too heavily destroyed to determine an immediate cause. They are still investigating and encourage neighbors to contact Alton Police if they notice suspicious activity around vacant houses. Police will board up and lock vacant homes.

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