Coal Valley couple will think twice before decorating so close to home after Monday morning fire

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COAL VALLEY, Illinois -- Vicki Youngburg woke up to heavy smoke coming from her bedroom window Monday morning.

“I was sleeping and I rolled over and I could see the flames shooting up the window… I yelled the house is on fire!,” says Youngburg.

She and her husband Norris say holiday lights on the roof got too hot outside their bedroom, the sparks ignited their Halloween display close by.

Norris was in the downstairs bathroom when the fire started. He says he thought the smoke was coming from the shower.

“I thought maybe the exhaust fan had gone out or something, I shut it off and the smoke got really bad,” he says.

The couple lived in their home for about 50 years and each season they put up Halloween decorations.

This was the first year the couple decorated so close to their home. They normally set up their display a few feet away.

This year’s display included three bales of straw, which helped the fire spread quickly.

“We never ever had a problem, so I never thought this straw would ignite like this.  There was no stopping it, it just kept going, Vicki said.

The couple used three fire extinguishers to hold off the fire until crews arrived.

They lost three wooden ghosts Vicki's father made for her before he died,  and their front bedroom wall.

They say next year they will think twice before setting up their display so close to home.

An expensive lesson that will cost the Youngbergs thousands of dollars.


Homeowners say Halloween decorations are to blame for a fire that charred the front of a house just outside of Coal Valley.

Fire at home in Coal Valley, WQAD photo by Cameron Jacobs

On Monday, October 16th, before 7 a.m. firefighters were called to a home off of 95th Street that was on fire.

A person who lives there said they had Halloween lights on the front of the house that apparently got too hot and caught on fire, causing hay bails to ignite and burn up.

Firefighters were still on scene as of 7:35 a.m.  It's not yet clear if the fire damage will force the residents to live elsewhere for now.

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