Du Quoin Fire Leaves Family of Seven Homeless

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By Evie Allen
By Randy Livingston

DU QUOIN -- A Perry County family of seven is staying at a hotel after a fire destroyed their home. 

"To be displaced like that, I feel more for the kids than myself," says Andrew Duecker.

The family of seven was living in the small two bedroom home in Du Quoin until early Tuesday morning.

"At this point, I have no idea what we're going to do," says Duecker.

Sometime after 12:00 a.m. Tuesday, the smoke alarm went off, warning the family to get out quick. One of the children quickly called 911.     

"It's kind of helping make our job easier and then safer by getting that early warning," says Du Quoin Fire Chief Bob Shaw.

All five children shared the bedroom closest to the door. 

"If it was any bigger, we couldn't have got everybody. And that would've been traggic," says Duecker. 

The family moved into the home around nine months ago and they had been renting the place from Duecker's mother-in-law.

"Now, it's all gone and we have nowhere to stay," he says.

Shaw believes the fire was started by an electric heater.

"We don't think there was a heater failure as much as we think there was an electrical problem," says Shaw.

The American Red Cross stepped in to help by paying for hotel expenses and getting three outfits for everyone in the family.

But by Thursday they'll have to go somewhere else. "I'm just trying to make sure we got a place to stay and the kids are fed and clothed," says Duecker.

Insurance adjustors were at the home Wednesday assessing the damage. One thing that stands out after looking at his charred home, is the American flag hanging on the outside of the house. He remembers fire fighters removing the flag the night of the fire. And by Tuesday somebody had put it back. As an army vet, Duecker took it as symbol of hope.

"I guess there's always hope and so it makes you feel a little better," says Duecker.

Duecker says he hopes to one day move back on the property. 

Marion Regional
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