By Rosemary K. Otzman
Belleville Mayor Kerreen Conley and her family were put out of their home by a fire on Sunday afternoon.
The mayor said on Monday they expect to be out of their home for about four months, until the insurance investigation is complete and the repairs are done.
No, they will not be home for Christmas. Presently they are staying with Mayor Conley’s mother.
The Belleville Fire Department was called to the Light Tower Drive home at about 3 p.m. Sunday for a house fire.
Fire Chief Brian Loranger said the fire started in the bedroom and appeared to be electrical in nature. He said it seems like there was a grounding issue on a cable line. He said the fire seemed to start on the cable TV outlet in the bedroom and went quickly up the wall.
But Mayor Conley said the insurance investigators said on Monday that they are unsure of what started the fire, but don’t think it was the cable line. But the fire was not suspicious in nature, they said.
Chief Loranger said there was no structural damage, but there was smoke and water damage to the house, so the family had to move out. He said the window fire fighters broke to fight the fire was boarded up. He said before they left the house it was winterized. Also, electrical power to the house had been killed by fire fighters because they didn’t know the cause of the fire when they arrived.
There were no injuries.
And, Mayor Conley said, that was the important part. She said everything else damaged were “just things.”
She said she and her mother were out Christmas shopping on Sunday and she didn’t have her phone with her. When they turned into the subdivision, they saw all the fire trucks.
She told her mother that her house was on fire and her mother asked her if she was sure that was her house. Mayor Conley replied, “I know my house.”
She found that her older son Austin had seen the fire, called 911, and then called his father upstairs. She said she was very proud of him for doing the right thing.
Her two sons Austin and Carson, her stepfather, and her husband Jeffrey exited the house. Conley said all the alarms went off the way they were supposed to.
At the end of a special city council meeting on Monday, that was called to discuss training wages for fire fighters, Mayor Conley thanked the fire department.
“Thank you very much for your services last night,” she said. “… I am very grateful.”
Mayor Pro Tem Jack Loria, a former fire chief, said people never know how much they need fire fighters until they have to call them.
“You make the call. We show up,” said fire fighter Brian Blackburn, who recently stepped down from his councilman’s position after not running for reelection.
Also, at about 8:25 p.m. Sunday, Belleville fire fighters responded to a deck fire at 219 Victorian Dr. in Victoria Commons.
Police Chief Gene Taylor said a barbecue grill was on the back deck of a house and someone put the ashes in a bag that caught the deck on fire. Chief Taylor said they used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire and then used water to hit the hot spots.
By Rosemary K. Otzman