Stockton, Illinois firefighters pick up pieces after fire burns through their own building

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Fighting fires is part of the job for the Stockton Fire Department volunteers, but a fire in their own building hits harder than anything they've ever faced.

"It is a very emotional thing. It is a second home. When they talk about the brotherhood of firefighters, it truly is," Stockton Fire Chief Randy Baysinger said.

That brotherhood is picking up the pieces the best they can. Chief Baysinger says the cause of the fire is likely electrical, starting in a trailer with an ATV inside. He says early estimates on a cost is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The fire started around 11:00 a.m, and the Stockton crew was left helpless as their equipment and trucks burned.

"I started to get very nervous because I knew my husband would be one of the firefighters without gear and try to be one of the brave ones to go in," Stockton firefighter wife Linda Winters said.

Everyone was safe, but six trucks were damaged, in addition to the damage to the building.

"It`s heartbreaking. I`m still in shock. You don`t expect to see this in a small town, but then to see the community come together, it`s amazing," Winters said.

Area businesses brought food and water, others helped in the clean-up, and other departments are stepping in to help.

"I`ve had calls, texts and emails from fire departments over 100 miles away offering spare equipment, offering spare apparatus, any kind of help that we would need," Chief Baysinger said.

Chief Baysinger says between the fire and the outpouring of support, the emotions of the day are overwhelming.

Thanks to that help, he knows one thing is clear.

"We`ve got gear, we`ve got equipment, so the Stockton Fire Department will go on like usual," Chief Baysinger said.

The department does have another building with extra equipment and a few trucks. Chief Baysinger hopes to have a better look at how much damage was caused over the next few days.

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