CAHOKIA, Ill. - The fire started at a home on the 500 block of Saint Barbara Lane around 1 a.m. Three adults were living in the house where the fire started. They were not home at the time.
A woman living in that home told Fox 2 someone broke into their home a few hours before the fire started. She said the back door was kicked in and the house had obviously been rummaged through.
After the break-in, the residents said they could smell gas, and they reported the break-in and gas smell to the police. A few hours later, their home was up in flames.
The residents who were living in the home where the fire started said they were renting the house and do not have renter's insurance. They said they lost everything in the fire.
Fire Chief Stephen Robbins said the Red Cross has been in contact with the family to help.
The fire also spread to a neighboring home where two adults and two children were sleeping. Police woke them up, and they, along with two dogs, were all able to get out safely.
After the fire was out, the four residents in the second house were able to return home after fire officials said the structure was safe to live in.
Ameren Illinois was on scene to work on a gas main that melted and ruptured, according to Robbins. A dig crew was also called in to locate and shut off the gas main.
The state fire marshal has been called in to investigate.