"We Had No Chance" - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

"We Had No Chance"

Posted: Updated: Jan 27, 2014 07:01 PM
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Today, what used to be a house in Wyoming, Ill., is nothing but a foundation of a home. 

It started around 9:30 Sunday night, the Wyoming Fire District responded to the fire, facing wind gusts up to 60 mph and wind chills dipping down to -30.

"I came from the North and as I was coming down the road, I could already see the roof was off," explains Wyoming Fire Chief Ed Fodlesonger. "All I could see was walls standing and the rest was burnt down."

Fodlesonger explains that the high winds pushed the flames through the house, catching everything on fire quickly.

All while feeding the growing fire with more oxygen. 

"We tried to a little bit, just to try and slow it down some and then decided to fold it up," he says. "We didn't want to get anybody hurt, or too cold, or get frostbit when there was nothing left to save."

Assistant Fire Chief Barry Pepper, who has served with the department since 1972, says it was the worst wind he has seen while fighting a fire in his life. 

"Once it came out of the basement, or wherever it started, why it just went through the house. Just unbelievable. You could tell when we left town that we weren't going to have much of a chance to save this house."

Pepper added that because the owner of the house was out safely, the next priority was making sure the rest of the crew was safe. 

Safe from the fire, the wind and the cold. 

"There was no fireman injured," he says. "And that's the most important part. 

Chief Fodlesonger added, "Cold was a factor. We were starting to freeze trucks. It was a factor. There was nothing to save. So instead of hurting equipment, it was time to wrap it up."

The owner of the house was taken to a hospital in Kewanee and treated for minor injuries.