By Cindy Iutzi, Daily Gate City
Firefighters respond twice to same location on Des Moines Street
Keokuk firefighters responded twice on Tuesday to fires at 1720 Des Moines St., the home of Ellen McGee.
The second trip to that address was the department’s fourth fire call of the day. Fire personnel also handled five calls for emergency medical services Tuesday.
The fire department was first called to McGee’s home at 10:12 a.m. when a blanket in a bedroom caught fire after being draped over a night light. The fire was quickly extinguished.
“The blanket was ignited by the night light,” Chief Mark Wessel said this morning.
The second call, which came at 2:46 p.m., was a different story. When firefighters arrived at McGee’s home, smoke was billowing from around the eaves and flames were coming from a window on the right side of the house. All personnel were called in and two trucks set up in front of the one-story frame house. A five-inch hose and 1 3/4-inch hose were connected to a hydrant and brought up to the property.
Firefighters set up a fan to clear smoke from the building and rescued a pitbull-like dog that had been inside. The dog was standing in the back seat of a car as it left the scene.
The fire was located in the same bedroom as the first fire, but had started in a different place, according to Wessel. The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The bedroom sustained major fire damage. The rest of the house had moderate smoke damage and minor water damage.
A next door neighbor who was leaving to pick up his grandchild from school reported the fire.
“I saw smoke coming out,” said Kevin Kellum. “I went to the front door and opened it, but the smoke pulled it shut.”
Kellum used his cell phone to call 911, but the call somehow was routed to the Hancock County sheriff’s dispatch center in Carthage, Ill., he said.
“I gave up and ran in to use my landline,” he said. “You know they (firefighters) were here earlier this morning for a fire.”
Fire personnel started their day at 4:22 a.m. in the 500 block of Bank Street, where they put out a fire in an unoccupied building. At 2:39 p.m., they responded to a smoking washing machine at the Seven Seas Coin Laundry at 1120 Johnson St. Seven minutes later they were called to McGee’s second fire.
McGee is insured.