MOLINE -- A house fire Friday morning caused extensive damage to the upper floor of a 1 1/2 story home, leaving a family of six homeless. No one was home at the time, and the family owned no pets.
Fire Capt. Mick Dochterman said the fire, at 556 24th Ave., was reported at 9:08 a.m. by a passerby who saw smoke coming from the house. Upon arrival, firefighters found heavy smoke pouring from the upper floor windows.
He said the fire was contained within 15 minutes and there were no injuries.
The residents, Mike Gellerstedt, his wife and their four children, were not home at the time. Mr. Gellerstedt said a friend called and told him his house was on fire at 9:14 a.m. Another friend called while he was on his home to survey the damage.
Mr. Gellerstedt said the three-bedroom home is owned by his grandmother and has been in his family for 60 years. He grew up in the house and has been remodeling the upper story where two bedrooms are located. He said the dining room is the only room with electricity.
"We don't use the upstairs, the electrical doesn't work," said Mr. Gellerstedt. "The wiring in that house is so old, I think it was electrical."
The fire originated on the first floor and moved up to the second story. "That's pretty typical fire behavior," said Capt. Dochterman. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Damages of the building and contents were estimated at $15,000, with extensive smoke damage throughout the structure. The contents and portion of the home firefighters were able to salvage is estimated at $40,000. There appeared to be no exterior damage to the house.
Red Cross representative Kasey Kelly said Mr. Gellerstedt refused the agency's offer of housing assistance and said they will stay with relatives or friends.
Today is Monday, May 20, the 140th day of 2013. There are 225 days left in the year. 1863 -- 150 years ago: A petition is being circulated asking the city council to order awell bored in Market Square. It would be a great accommodation to the public. 1888 -- 125 years ago: At 1 p.m. on May 18 the Mississippi River flooded its banks atRock Island and destroyed the warehouse of the Rock Island Lumber Co. and damagedRock Island Arsenal power plant. Total loss is estimated at $100,000. 1913 -- 100 years ago: Residents of Sough Rock Island Township are circulating apetition favoring the annexation of that area to the City of Rock Island. 1938 -- 75 years ago: A group of state members of the National Grandmothers Clubmeeting in Rock Island are making plans to petition for the observance of a NationalGrandmothers Day. 1963 -- 50 years ago: Deere and Co. reported today that its U.S. and Canadian sales forthe first half of the 1963 fiscal year set an all time record of $323,716.628. 1988 -- 25 years ago: William G. Lawrence, first administrative director, has retired fromPECO Enterprises, Inc. Prior to his service at PECO, Mr. Lawrence was the civilianpersonnel officer at the Rock Island Arsenal.