ALEDO — A Mercer County family lost everything when a fire broke out in their rural Aledo home Monday night. No one was injured at the Rourke residence, according to Aledo Fire Chief Dennis Litwiler. One son was home and escaped unharmed.
The family lost several pets including six German shepherd puppies, a Chihuahua and a cat. Three dogs, including the German shepherd mom and one puppy survived.
“When we arrived on scene the house was fully engulfed,” Litwiler said.
He said firefighters got the call at 5 p.m. Icy road conditions slowed down responders. The two-story farmhouse is located west of Aledo and 2 miles east of Millersburg.
Despite the freezing temperatures, firefighters were able to keep water flowing, Litwiler said.
The American Red Cross was contacted to give assistance to the family, “as they lost everything in the fire,” the chief said.
A Facebook fundraiser titled “Rourke House Fire” had raised over $3,500 in about 12 hours. A GoFundMe page also was set up for Steve and Angie Rourke and can be found by searching on www.gofundme.com.
Midwest Bank Aledo is accepting donations for Steve and Angie Rourke at: 200 S.E. 13th Avenue Court, Aledo, IL 61231. If mailing a check note that it's a donation for Rourke house fire.
“You hate to see a family lose everything they have, and they definitely did,” said Litwiler. “Keep them in your prayers. Hope they can rebuild and get back up and get going again.”
Angie Rourke said the community response has been overwhelming.
"I'm just thankful my family is here,” Rourke said. “We trust in God. He's going to get us through. This is just a bump in the road. We are just so thankful and so blessed. We just want to tell everyone we love them.”
She said the family was also thankful for the firefighters who risked their lives to put out the blaze.
Aledo, Joy, Seaton and Viola fire departments assisted at the scene. Tankers with water came from the Buffalo Prairie/Illinois City department. The cause has yet to be determined.