Sept. 29--BIRKBECK -- An apparent explosion rocked a DeWitt County couple out of bed Sunday morning and sent fire fighters from six area departments scrambling to control a fire that heavily damaged the home near Clinton Lake.
"It was an explosion-- I can guarantee you that. It just about blew us out of bed," said homeowner Steve Riddle, who lives in Birkbeck, an unincorporated community northeast of Clinton.
Riddle and his girlfriend, Dana Winter, escaped without injury but their two cats likely died in the fire, he said.
Firefighters from Clinton, Farmer City, Maroa, Wapella, Weldon and Kenney were on the scene of the blaze reported shorted before 7 a.m. The Red Cross assisted with drinks and food for emergency responders.
Riddle said he felt fortunate no one was hurt.
"Things can be replaced -- people can't," said Riddle, adding that the home was recently remodeled.
Flames were obvious from the roof of the single-story home on the wooded site near Clinton Lake and the walls of some portions bulged from the apparent blast.
Emergency crews were cautious as they worked to contain the fire because a large amount of ammunition was stored inside the home of Riddle, an avid outdoorsman.
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