business and home destroyed
Community drive to help begins
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[December 22, 2008]
The marquee at the nearby Lincoln Theater said,
"The Day the
Earth Stood Still." For Mike and Kathy Simonson and their two
children, it was a day where their world didn't stand still but
instead came to a startling and destructive passage.
The fire in their home and business at 221 S.
Kickapoo reportedly started just after 5 p.m. First responders
from the Lincoln Fire Department arriving on scene initially had to
help two second-story tenants at a neighboring building get out and
away from the scene.
They then went into the structure looking for a
second-floor stairway in hopes that the fire could be contained
before it broke out and spread. Unfortunately it was already too
late, as one firefighter stated they could hear the flames popping
along the roof like a "hailstorm on a tin roof." Being confident
that no one was in the building, they were directed to evacuate the
Within 30 minutes, the fire made the
building an inferno, fueled by wood
flooring products, carpeting and other flammable items, causing the firefighters to direct their efforts
at containing the fire and keeping it from spreading to adjacent
At first light it is obvious that the buildings
on both sides of Simonsons' have extensive if not total damage.
Buildings farther down the block of tightly knit structures,
including the Lincoln Theater, were spared due to fire department
efforts. It is uncertain at this time how much water and smoke
damage occurred to local structures.
Power was shut off by Ameren workers shortly
after 6 p.m., leaving the south side of the square in darkness.
All area fire departments came to the
five-alarm call, including units from McLean County. EMA units as well as the Red Cross were on hand.
As of Saturday morning the structure, felled by
the fire, was still smoldering, and Lincoln Fire Department personnel
were still working on watering down the smoldering ruins.
[to top of second column]
Circuit Clerk Carla Bender has advised this newspaper that she has
begun a drive to help the Simonson family in this difficult time.
She asks that the entire community help by
giving to the "Simonson Family Fire Fund."
She says checks can be directed to her at P.O.
Box 158, Lincoln, IL 62656. Bender intends to start an account
as soon as possible at the State Bank of Lincoln to handle the fund.
The entire community is encouraged to help.