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Belleville house fire leaves 25-year-old woman dead, young boy injured

The fire happened at a home along Rodenmeyer Street Tuesday morning.

BELLEVILLE, Ill. — Firefighters in one Metro East community are being hailed as heroes after saving a child from a house fire that claimed one life.

After waking up early to watch television Kreg Carron said he and his wife heard a loud boom.

“It kind of sounded like a guy was picking up a dumpster and setting it back down on the concrete when they come to pick them up,” said Kreg Carron.

When he looked outside, he quickly realized his neighbors house was on fire.

“The smoke was just billowing,” said Carron.  “It was probably 100ft above the trees from what I could tell.  It was grey, black, dark, and thick and going straight up in the air.  I was like holy mackerel.”

Belleville Fire Department was called to the home along Rodenmeyer Street for a report of a fire with people trapped inside Tuesday morning. Shortly after the initial crew arrived at the scene, the fire was upgraded to a second alarm.

“When the call came in, we did receive reports that there were victims still inside the building, so our crews geared up and made an aggressive interior attack,” said Belleville Fire Chief JP Penet.

Firefighters were able to locate a 9-year-old boy near the front of the home and quickly rushed him outside to the waiting arms of two men who already escaped. The boy was taken to a hospital for treatment. Officials have not released information on his condition or the extent of his injuries, but he is expected to be OK.

“The best thing we can do is save the lives of the people in our community,” said Penet. “After that we’re going to work to put the fire out.”

Unfortunately, not everyone made it out of the house alive.

As firefighters continued searching, they found a woman in the back of the home. She was pronounced dead at the scene. She was identified as 25-year-old Kirsten Tompkins.

"It's sad,” said Carron.  “You think about if you were in that situation, and firefighters doing their job, and I know they do the best they can with what they've got.  Thank god the kid got out, but it's sad."

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Carron believes things could have been much worse without the help of first responders.

“Thank you for what you guys do,” said Carron. “With that job they’re unsung heroes.”

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