Third Fire In Galesburg, IL In Less Than A Month; Family Loses P - News and Weather For The Quad Cities -

Third Fire In Galesburg, IL In Less Than A Month; Family Loses Precious Memories

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It's the third fire in less than a month in Galesburg, one of them ruled as arson.

The first two happened one after the other a few weeks ago. The first at a vacant home on South Academy Street and then at a vacant business on Main Street.

Last night, the third fire happened at another home on West South Street.

The woman who owns that house, Emma Sargent said no one was home at the time of the fire, but family had still been living there.

Sargent had lived at 683 West South Street in Galesburg for almost 18 years. She raised 15 of her kids there.

Inside the destroyed home countless photos, diplomas and memorabilia lost in the flames.

"My treasures are in that house," said Sargent. "I just want to know what I can save, that's all."

Sargent said family still lives in and out of that house, but last night they were visiting family in Peoria otherwise someone could have been there when the fire broke out.

The Galesburg Fire Department said the state fire marshal, K-9 unit and Galesburg Police are helping to investigate this fire.

But it's too early to tell if this home was a target of arson, too.

"If we would say there's an arsonist running around it might be for these two houses, but we're not even seeing a strong connection between those two houses," said Fire Marshal Dan Foley of the Galesburg Fire Department. "We're not seeing a pattern of, 'Wow, we've got to catch this guy,'. We're not seeing that kind of situation."

But it certainly has neighbors nearby worried.

"It is a little scary knowing that some of them are vacant and makes you want to watch them a little bit more and check them out a little bit more often," said neighbor April Smykal.

"If there is an arsonist running around here, you're supposed to be worried," said neighbor Joey Kimbrough. "There's several houses in this area that are empty, so you could be the next target you never know."

As for Emma Sargent and her family, she said she's just waiting until investigators say it's ok for her to look through the home to search for her memories...especially two veteran's flags for her deceased husband and daughter that is still inside the rubble.

"There's been a lot of love in that house, it really has," said Sargent.

The Galesburg Fire Department said it took nearly 3 hours to put this fire out. There were no injuries.

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