House a total loss
At 10:16 p.m. Feb. 2 the New Boston Fire Department was called to the home of Douglas L. Ferguson at 851 Mannon Road in rural New Boston. Upon arrival they found the home fully engulfed.
Doug and Michelle Ferguson were just settling down to bed when Doug thought he smelled smoke.
When Doug opened the basement door his oldest dog ran past him and he was struck by a wave of heat and smoke. "The north wall was totally in flames," said Doug. "We knew we were in trouble."
Michelle couldn't say enough about the firefighters who assisted in putting out the blaze in temperatures that reached 14 degrees below zero.
"They were so freezing they where chipping the ice off of their coats to get them off," said Michelle about the firemen.
Michelle added, "Tonya Puckett Zimmerman gave us coats and shoes to wear."
Fire departments from New Boston, Eliza, Keithsburg, Joy and Aledo were at the scene according to Michelle
The two-story house was a total loss. "We had lived there for seven years," said Doug.
"We are hoping to be out there again," said Michelle. "It's where we want to be."
While the Fergusons lost everything in the fire it was the loss of three of their four dogs that hurt the most. "They were like our children," said Michelle.
Doug added, "I went back in for the dogs but I got disoriented and barely got back out."
The American Red Cross are putting the Fergusons up for three nights in the Blue Spruce Inn in Aledo and after that they will be renting an apartment in New Boston until they can make other plans.
An account has been set up at the Joy State Bank to collect donations for the couple. Lucinda Puckett is also collecting donations.
Fire departments were at the scene for three hours until about 1:15 a.m. Sunday morning.