Rock Island family and pets escape fire

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Firefighters blamed the way a Rock Island home was built for the speed with which a basement fire spread through the walls of the house.

Fire was reported just before 7 p.m. Monday, January 7, 2013 at a house in the 4500 block of Eighth Avenue.  Heavy smoke was visible when firefighters arrived.

Heavy fire found in the basement was extinguished but the fire had traveled up the walls to the first and second stories of the home.   It took about 45 minutes for them to extinguish the fire.

A statement from the Rock Island Fire Department said, “this was due to the fact that the home was balloon frame construction.”  Without firestops installed, balloon framing that uses long framing studs from the bottom to the top of a structure can allow fire to quickly spread up the walls.

The home was damaged by heavy smoke and moderate fire, and the fire department declared the home “uninhabitable.”  The family of two adults and three children living in the home were getting help from the American Red Cross.  

The family dog and hamster were also rescued from the home. 

Damage to the structure was estimated at $60,000.  Damage to the contents of the home was estimated at $40,000.   The cause of the fire remained under investigation.