BELLEVILLE, Ill. – Several people escaped a home explosion in Belleville with no major injuries. Judging from the damage to the structure, they are lucky to be alive. It is still not clear at this time how the fire started.
The home was fully engulfed in flames, and explosions were reported coming from the scene. The structure is located in the 8900 block of Highway 163. The fire started at approximately 6:45 a.m.
As of 7:15 a.m. crews were on the scene putting water on the structure. Flames were seen coming from the roof.
There were eight to nine people living in the home. None of them appear to be seriously injured. No one was taken to the hospital but several of them were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and other maladies.
The Illinois State Fire Marshall is calling the fire suspicious. An investigation will be launched into what caused the fire.
Homeowner Shannon Rackhaus spoke with FOX 2 reporter Chris Regnier about what happened this morning. She said that her husband helped retrieve a truck that was stolen from their nephew last night. The truck was parked just outside of their home.
This morning the nephew came running through the home, trying to wake everyone up and get them out of the house. An 8-month old and 4-year-old were inside the home.
There was a fire under the truck and the family could not put it out. Rackhaus said the fire then spread to the home and burned up everything.
Rackhouse said she has owned the home for 20 years and lost pets to the fire.
“Everything I have is gone,” said Rackhaus. “Thank God everyone is OK.”
Highway 163 has closed at Eiler Tuesday morning near Belleville. A crowd has gathered in the area to check out all of the activity.
FOX 2 will continue to update this story with more information as it becomes available.