Liberty home destroyed by fire - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Liberty home destroyed by fire

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LIBERTY, Ill. (WGEM) -

In Liberty, snow drifted roads are getting the blame for delaying firefighters to get to a Wednesday morning house fire.

Crews worked for a half-hour to get to the scene but, in the end, the home burned to the ground. It leaves some wondering if the house have been saved if the weather wasn't so bad?

Liberty Fire Chief Don Loos says Bortz, a member of the Chicago Bears 1985 Super Bowl Team, was home when the fire started around 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

"We arrived on scene from the road and seen that the house was fully engulfed," said Chief Loos.

Loos says fire trucks and ambulance crews were unable to make it through the snow-drifted roads.

"We tried to get one of our engines back here and it got stuck," explained Loos.

Instead, they had to use two brush trucks each loaded with a 300 gallon tank of water, which took about 30 minutes to arrive on scene.

"For a structure fire for us it's pretty unusual," said Loos. "We've never really had to do that but with the snow and drifting weather conditions we really didn't have a choice."

Liberty resident Jonas Tjaden also lives on a county road, similar to the road the Bortz family lived on.

"You don't really have that many house fires out here but with as bad as the weather conditions are I can understand it burning, because no one can get down these gravel roads," said Tjaden.

Loos says even though the snowy road conditions slowed their response time, it did keep them from fighting what could have been multiple fires.

"We're surrounded by timber and grassland around here," said Loos. 'The way the sparks were blowing off the house and onto the timber the snow actually helped us keep it from spreading into the timber."

The family is now living in another home in Liberty. The cause of the fire could not be determined.

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