Rock Island Teen's Massive Holiday Display Damaged In Fire - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Rock Island Teen's Massive Holiday Display Damaged In Fire

Updated: Nov 27, 2012 09:13 PM CST
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'Tis the season for an increase in house fires. One in Rock Island Monday night not only damaged a home, but put quite a damper on a big holiday lighting display. 

At the home on the 3500 block of 24th Avenue more than 16,000 lights make up the display. So many say it's disheartening to see where the fire did its damage, especially the teen who worked so hard to put it together. Now, in the spirit of the season, the neighborhood is helping the family out.

For several years now 17-year old Dilon Cralle has really gotten in the spirit of the season. This year his display includes nine inflatables, dozens of Christmas characters, and tens of thousands of lights. "Anymore you drive down the street and there's not more than three houses that put lights on," he said.

Along with the thousands of dollars in damage to his life-long home Monday the fire did a number on the decorations he's worked on since the beginning of October. Now some of the lights and displays lay charred or melted down to nothing. "The black extension chord, was orange, now black. All the lights burned up," said Cralle.

 He bought almost all the lights and it's a tradition for the last few years that has grown into a neighborhood attraction. But it's one that Cralle feared was to blame for the blaze. "I thought the Christmas lights had caused the fire. I had so much pressure on me. I thought I'd started the fire with the Christmas lights."

Fire officials say though, they believe an extension chord inside that was not connected to any of the lights is the cause. Now neighbors are stepping up to assist the family.  "It's a close-knit neighborhood so we're trying to do all we can to help them. We've had donations of money and people calling and asking about clothing," said Jane Fischer who lives a few doors down.
 
They've already raised several hundred dollars to help with the necessities.  While much of the display will be salvaged, the hope is to then make up for what was lost. "It's heartbreaking because this year he had such a big display and he was so proud of it," said Joe Redman, another neighbor.
 
"It's sad to see all the stuff go that did, but now we kind of get a fresh start," added Cralle.
 
The family is staying with relatives right now. In the future Cralle hopes to rebuild his lighting display to be bigger and better. If you'd like to help Jane Fischer is organizing donations of money, clothes, or items for the lighting display. She can be contacted at (309) 788-1025.