This week’s fire in Sherrard, IL isn’t the first time the Mercer County community has faced this type of tragedy. In 1988 a house fire in Swedona, IL took the lives of four people. 25 years later people in Swedona still remember that fire.
Nancy Kling remembers where she was when she got the call about the fire, “We were shocked, because we were actually at a family’s house in preemption when we got the call.”
Nancy’s father in law lived right behind the home that burnt to the ground.
“By the time my father in law got there the door was so hot he couldn’t even open i. It already engulfed the whole house,” says Nancy.
It’s believed that a kerosene heater caused the fire to Tom and Karen Lucas’s house. Their two sons were able to safely squeeze out of a window in their basement.
“The parents couldn’t fit through is what my understanding was and that’s why they sent the two boys out, probably in hopes that someone would be able to save them,” says Nancy.
It was too late, the house made of wood collapsed, trapping Tom and Karen and their two other sons, Joe and John inside.
“Four people, they had no way to get out basically um yah it was devastating,” says Nancy.
Little did the town know, it wouldn’t be the last tragedy they would face. This week their small town family lost another five members.
“It’s something you’re never going to forget and you’re going to talk about and if you can be of help you’re going to do it,” says Nancy.
Four people survived the fire including two sons and two daughters who weren’t home at the time.