Fire breaks out in Herrin family's garage - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Fire breaks out in Herrin family's garage

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HERRIN -- When one Herrin family left for the grocery store to do some shopping, they had no idea they would return home to find flames in their driveway. But despite the frightening scene, they said they're thankful no one was hurt. 

"We saw the smoke and then the phones started ringing," said Jennifer Shanks, the daughter living in the home. 

Flames broke out from their garage off 16th Street and Ash Street Sunday afternoon.

"My wife got a text saying that something in the yard was on fire so we rushed home as quick as we could," said Eric Shanks.

The family said thankfully they weren't home at the time. They spent the day on the lake with their new boat, then came back to town to run errands.

"We came home, parked it, covered it up, went to Kroger, and there was a fire," Eric said. 

The family said they moved into the home three-and-a-half years ago from Indiana, never experiencing anything like this. 

 "The whole outside and underneath the garage, the boat and van were all on fire when we got here," said Captain Tom Hatley, of the Herrin Fire Department. "You could see the smoke from three blocks away, easily."

A team of Herrin firefighters responded to the fire. Officials said it appears to be an accidental fire. 

"There was a lot of damage to the garage but it could have been a lot worse," Hatley said. "It looks bad but it happened during the day time and no one injured."

There were however a few items lost in the blaze.  

"A lot of family photos and stuff like that but you know, like I said nobody was hurt, and that's the important thing," Eric said.

Jennifer added, "The house is still standing, thank God."

Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire and said it could take days to pinpoint exactly how it happened.

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