Early morning house fire displaced family at Christmas

Elkhorn Elks step up with on behalf of children

A house fire in the wee hours of the morning has put a family out of their home during the holiday season.  

Lonnie and Rita Studer’s home west of Virden was the scene of a pre-dawn fire call.

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On Sunday, Dec. 22, at 5:45 a.m. Virden station firefighters were called to a house on fire, west of Virden, says Fire Chief Brad Yochim. Reports were that the garage attic was on fire and all occupants had escaped the home.

Yochim said, “On arrival we found a fire in the attic of an attached garage. The occupants were safely out of the house. We quickly attacked the fire and were able to extinguish it before it advanced into the house.”

The cause of the fire was determined to be electrical in nature. Eleven firefighters from Virden attended with four trucks.

“We were cleared from the fire at 8:00 a.m. The home did have smoke alarms but they did not sound as the fire was in the attic where there were no smoke alarms. The home owner smelled the smoke and called 911 before evacuating his family.”

Within the residence, there was damage to the inside wall where the garage adjoined, but the fire did not advance into the house. Fire damage was confined to the attic of the garage and the house wall. Additionally, there was water and smoke damage inside the home.


The family, which includes Studer’s grandchildren, must find another place to live. Rita Studer said it will be six months to two years before they can expect the insurance claim to be settled and the home repaired.

© Virden Empire-Advance