The Vienna Fire Department responded Sunday morning to reports of a semi-truck trailer on fire along the east-bound entrance ramp of I-24, near Rt. 146.
The department spent approximately 2 1/2 hours containing a blaze that destroyed a 53 foot Mayflower moving trailer and its contents that may have contained up to three military families’ entire household items.
Firefighters arrived on the scene at 7:30 a.m. to find nearly half of the trailer fully engulfed in flames.
“The trailer was packed so tight and so full, it was difficult to get in there to contain it,” Vienna fire chief Aaron Goldenstein said. “It was hot and it was time consuming.”
With temperatures in excess of 100 degrees throughout Southern Illinois Sunday morning, additional Vienna fire volunteers were dispatched to the scene to assist the exhausted original responding crews.
The damaged trailer was later towed by Cagle’s Towing and parked in the lot behind the business.
The contents of the trailer later rekindled, as a cool front moved through the area later that afternoon. The fire department was called at 12:51 p.m. to reports of increased smoke raising from the structure.
A portion of the remaining content required removal to be extinguished.
The crews were on that call for close to 1 1/2 hours.
Nearly 25 volunteer firemen assited with the fire throughout the day.
Bill Cagle, owner of Cagle Towing said, “The trailer was packed so full and tight – I was afraid that may happen.”
He also said, “I’ve been told that the trailer was filled with as many as three different families’ household belongings.”
“I’ve received calls from three different people saying that [the content of the trailer] belongs to them and they want to go through it to get personal items,” he said.
“I’m not going to allow anyone to go through or remove anything until I get paperwork from the moving company or an insurance company,” Cagle said.
Cagle indicated that most of the content may belong to military personnel that were being relocated.
The trailer is registered to Johnson United, located in Centenenial, Colorado.
The driver of the semi pulling the trailer, Joseph Degilo of Nebraska, unhooked from the trailer and moved his rig to a safe distance. The semi was not damaged.
A rear break on the trailer is suspected to be the cause of the fire.