The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
by Dessa Rodeffer, Quill Publisher
A quiet morning ended abruptly, Saturday around 11:00 a.m. when Andy Stevenson smelled smoke coming from upstairs of their two-story home. He awakened his wife Scarlet, who had been sleeping and brought her down the stairs as flames began appearing. He called 9-1-1.
Andy tried to re-enter the stairway to rescue Scarlet's two small dogs but flames were too intense. They gathered their five boys, not all in time for shoes, and retreated to their truck and waited for firemen.
By the time MST firemen arrived, the strong winds had fueled the fire out of control. Firemen from Lomax, Dallas City, Raritan, and Media came to assist in the battle hindered by freezing weather, but the house was a total loss.
Ambulances from Stronghurst and Lomax were on the scene and put to use as Scott Ford of Stronghurst was transported to the hospital for smoke inhalation, treated and released, and Arbry Vancil suffered from a fall through the floor but was not taken to the hospital.
Both men were back on the scene at Brad Flatts Monday after Flatt called in some smoldering hay.
The Stevenson blaze kept firemen busy from 11 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. as they hauled water and extinguished the blaze.
State Fire Marshall contributed the cause to electrical, according to Andy's brother, T.J. Stevenson who was one of the first on the scene.
The seven Stevensons escaped with the clothes on their backs losing everything including a billfold and a purse. The home, 4 miles south of Stronghurst, is Andy's parents, Dick and Diane Stevenson, who live in Florida most of the year.
The family stayed at Scarlet's parents Steve and Jo Stull in Raritan, and have found a home in Raritan to rent.
The Red Cross, area folks, and family have given money, clothes and food. Brothers, Andy and Miles, are buying them a queen bed and 4 single beds for the kids. Bedding, towels, soaps and essentials are needed and anyone who can contribute may leave them at Jo Jo's Korner, Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. or call Jo at the cafe at 924-1248.
The children are Jake (12) and Matthew Marsden (8); and Dustin (8), Skyler (10) and Jimmy Stevenson (2).
Andy works at G.E. and Scarlet at Fishers Food Center, Stronghurst.