GLEN CARBON, IL (KTVI) - From Bommarito Automotive Skyfox you could see almost straight through the roof of a home burning on Rushmore and Walton Drives in Glen Carbon, Illinois.
Just before six Thursday morning, Glen Carbon, Edwardsville and Maryville Illinois firefighters headed to the house. So did former owner Bill Schreiber, whose brother and sister in-law now live at the home.
“[My sister-in-law] said by the time she woke him, the back was already fully engulfed and the windows were starting to break from the heat,” Schreiber remembered. “From what he told me, they practically had to crawl out of the house.”
“Out” was the operative word of the morning. Firefighters found the man and wife on the sidewalk, alive.
“That’s a good feeling,” Glen Carbon’s Fire Chief Ralph Well was smiling.
He and his crew tried to save this house from flames that charred the trees.
“When we got here… heavy flame. A lot of smoke,” Well shook his head. “We had a condition that we just couldn`t send anybody in at that point.”
One survivor knew all too well about the fire that was destroying his home.
“He’s a retired firefighter from Granite City [Illinois], from what I understand,” he pointed at all the firefighters on the scene. “A lot of people around here know him and he knows them.”
And just like the fire burned this house and all the precious pictures and mementos inside, it may have also destroyed precious clues.
“The actual cause, we may never know,” Well said. “It’s going to be a long process because of the damage involved.”
But the family, full of both first-responders and civilians, knew this:
“You can replace other stuff,” Shreiber said. “But, you can’t replace a life.”