Quick thinking by a pair of baby-sitters prevented what could have been a much bigger tragedy Friday night.
A house owned by Dustin and Jenny Reckner was declared a total loss by fire investigators, but the Reckners’ three children and their two baby-sitters escaped unharmed.
Morenci fire chief Chad Schisler said that the sitters, Allison, 12, and Chelsea, 14, June noticed an odor as if something were burning and immediately looked around the house to find the cause. They spotted flames around the porch light and quickly awoke the Reckners’ two-year-old and nine-month-old children who were asleep upstairs.
They left the house with those two children and the four-year-old child who was still awake exited through a sliding door to avoid the fire on the porch. They all ran across the street to a neighboring house and the 911 call was placed.
The upstairs smoke alarms eventually functioned in the house, Schisler said, but girls detected the trouble first on their own.
“They did an excellent job,” he said, “and we hope they get an award for their quick thinking. One of the kids told me ’They didn’t teach us that in baby-sitting school’.”
Most of the damage was in the upper portion of the house, Schisler said. A photo taken by Dan Bodette shows the likely path of the flames, starting at the porch light and traveling upward to the attic.
The Morenci Fire Department received the fire call at 9:26 p.m. Friday and remained on the scene until 2:40 a.m. About 20,000 gallons of water was used to extinguish the blaze. Equipment and personnel also came from the Fairfield, Lyons and Madison departments. Fayette sent personnel.
The property is located at 10062 Elliott Highway, where Elliott intersects with Weston Road.