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 Friday, April 25, the 115th day of 2014. There are 250 days left in the year.
1864 — 150 years ago: Never in the history of Rock Island was there such a demand for houses as at present. Our city is suffering for the want of suitable tenement houses.
1889 — 125 years ago: The choir of Central Presbyterian Church presented a ladies concert under the direction of S.T. Bowlby.
1914 — 100 years ago: Miss Rosella Benson was elected president of the Standard Bearers of Spencer Memorial Methodist Church.
1939 — 75 years ago: Mrs. Nell Clapper was elected president of the Rock Island Business and Professional Women's Club.
1964 — 50 years ago: Gerald Hickman, of Seattle, Wash, will move his family to Rock Island to assume the position of produce buyer for the Eagle Food Center chain of food stores. This announcement was made today by Bernard Weindruch, president of Eagles.
1989 — 25 years ago: Care & Share, formed in 1984 to provide food to jobless and needy Quad-Citians, will disband because the major part of a crisis created by plant closings is over. Food for the needy is still necessary. So groups separately will continue to raise money and collect food.