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.