Fairfield Ledger

Mt. Pleasant News   Wash Journal
Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 20, 2018

Fire burns duplex

No one injured in Monday morning blaze
By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | May 01, 2018
Photo by: ANDY HALLMAN/Ledger photo A fire Monday morning destroyed the duplex at 605 South E St. in Fairfield. No one was injured in the fire. The fire began in the garage on the west side and destroyed a pickup truck and most of the residence where Vicki and LaVerne Christner lived.

A fire ravaged a duplex Monday morning in Fairfield, leaving the occupants without a place to stay.

The fire occurred at 5:42 a.m. at 605 South E St. near Washington Elementary School.

Vicki and LaVerne Christner rent the west side of the duplex. The couple had just awoken because LaVerne had to get ready for work. Before he could do that, Vicki smelled something burning.

The couple opened the garage door to see that the garage was completely engulfed in flames.

“We barely had enough time to get out,” Vicki said.

The couple were able to escape through a different door in the house. LaVerne ran to the other side of the duplex and woke up the neighbor, who called the fire department.

Firefighters were on the scene for several hours. Fairfield Fire Chief Scott Vaughan said 16 Fairfield firefighters responded, plus a group from Libertyville who was called for mutual aid. The Red Cross was called to assist the fire victims.

The west side of the duplex where the Christners lived was left uninhabitable. The fire also destroyed the couple’s pickup truck in the garage.

The east side suffered extensive smoke damage. Vaughan said the cause of the fire is under investigation, and that the State Fire Marshal has been called to assist.

No one was injured from the fire, and everyone’s animals made it out safely. The Christners have two dogs, and hotels in the area won’t allow them to stay, so the couple is living at Vicki’s stepson’s house in Iowa City.

Vicki said the community has been generous with donations.

“Everyone has been so wonderful. It’s been overwhelming,” she said.

The Christners have enough possessions to get by, for the time being.

“I have a storage bin full of stuff. I just don’t have a home,” Vicki said. “The fire destroyed 95 percent of our place. I could salvage only very little. My mother just died, and we had some of her belongings in there.”

Vicki said she and LaVerne would love to stay in Fairfield. They just need to find a residence that will accommodate their two dogs.

“My kids are grown. It’s just me, my husband and our two dogs, who feel like children. We’ve had them 11 and 14 years,” she said.

Those interested in helping the Christners can call Vicki at 641-224-2900, or her daughter Heather Brown at 309-536-2117.


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