Couple loses home to fire; cat killed

By DAVE HINTON
Rantoul Press editor

RANTOUL — A rural Rantoul couple lost their belongings when a fire destroyed the interior of the mobile home they rented Wednesday afternoon.

The fire at Fountain Valley Mobile Home Park, south of Rantoul, gutted the mobile home of Amanda Ebert and Richard Rutledge.

Thomasboro Fire Chief Paul Cundiff said the couple was able to move into another home there. The fire was called in at 11:57 a.m.

Ebert and her baby escaped unharmed, but the couple’s cat died. Rutledge was not at home at the time.

Thomasboro fire officials contacted the Red Cross to help the couple with clothing and other necessities.

Thomasboro and Rantoul firefighters fought the blaze.

Cundiff said a caller originally indicated there was a fire around the washer-dryer unit at Trailer No. 69.

“Pretty quick it was upgraded that the whole trailer was on fire,” Cundiff said.

He said Ebert tried to extinguish the fire, which firefighters believe was electrical in origin, with a pan of water.

“When (firefighters) got there, there was a fire in the utility room, and it had spread underneath of the trailer, they think from the lint that had collected under the trailer. It kind of spread from one end to the other,” Cundiff said.

The fire chief said the mobile home’s walls are standing, but the interior was gutted.

Firefighters cleared the scene about 1:30 p.m.

Cundiff said six Thomasboro firefighters were on the scene. Rantoul Fire Chief Ken Waters said 14 Rantoul firefighters responded. Rantoul brought a tanker full of water.

“There are hydrants, but they’re on 2-inch mains” and not adequate to fight a fire, Waters said.

dhinton@rantoulpress.com

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