West Frankfort Fire Department Captain Ron Rains described the damage of a Thursday morning shed fire at Tim Murphy's residence at the heart of Candy Cane Lane as a "total loss."
The shed was used to house some of Murphy's holiday decorations as well as vehicles. Decorations that were displayed near the shed were also destroyed.
Firefighters were dispatched to the scene about 6:50 a.m. Thursday and were on the scene about two hours. Power to the nearby residences was shut off as a precaution, and as of 9 a.m., Ameren employees were working to restore the electricity.
Rains said the Office of the Illinois Fire State Marshal was contacted and an investigation into the origin of the blaze will follow.
"We contacted the fire marshal's office just to be safe," said Rains.
Murphy was unavailable for comment. However, his sister, Marilyn Murphy, speaking on his behalf, said,
"Tim is really tired. He has been bombarded all day and is very upset." She said the gravity of the situation is "finally starting to hit home and he is trying to get some rest." Marilyn said they do not know with certainty who is responsible for setting the blaze.
We are hoping that whomever did this will be shamed into telling someone," said Marilyn.
When asked the future of Candy Cane Lane, she quoted Tim as saying, "The lights are on and they will be on through New Year's. Candy Cane Lane will not close because of one bad apple."
West Frankfort resident Kerri Melvin organized a Candy Cane Lane fundraiser Thursday night to help the Murphys offset the cost of expenses not covered by insurance.
WFFD firefighters were also called to the scene of a Thursday afternoon house fire at 707 S. Sunny Slope St.
The blaze, called in by a neighbor around 12:50 p.m., took firefighters more than four hours to extinguish.
Shortly after clearing the scene, Captain Rains was unable to cite an exact cause as to the origin of the fire. An investigation is underway, however, Rains said he does not suspect foul play was involved. No injuries were reported.