Photos taken from Danielle Yates's Facebook page. Used with permission.

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PRAIRIETOWN – A family home burnt to the ground in Wednesday's early morning hours.

Captain Lonnie Pruett of the Prairietown Fire Department said the home, which is about a mile south of the small municipality, is a complete loss at this time. His department was paged for a structure fire around 5 a.m. and automatic mutual aid was sent to the Holiday Shores Fire Department, which arrived first on the scene to find flames already reaching from the roof. Pruett said two occupants were inside the home at the time, but both escaped.

The granddaughter of the homeowner, Danielle Yates, who lives next to the property, said her grandmother, Bette Hammond, and her grandmother's husband, Louis Hammond, were barely able to escape the blaze. Yates said the home was built in 1972 by Bobby G. Yates, who has since perished in 2005. She said her father and his brothers helped in the construction.

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“Louis [Hammond] fell walking out to my parents to get help, but he got away with just a gashed shin and a short hospital visit,” Danielle Yates said. “They also found some 100-year-old books that made it. Out of a 3,000-square-foot house, some Bibles and ancient books are what made it! Miraculous!”

The survival of the family Bibles gives Danielle Yates and her family hope for the future. While they lost their home as well as their dog and one of three cats, the survival of the Bibles gives them the faith they need to persevere, she said.

Danielle Yates said she is still processing the gravity of her family's loss. Outside of their home, a dog and a cat, her grandmother and her husband also lost a nearby Chevrolet Tahoe. Fortunately, Danielle Yates said her family is covered by insurance.

Pruett said firefighters were on the scene for around six hours battling the fire, having returned to the station to begin the process of hose-cleaning just after 11 a.m. The fire is not ruled as suspicious at this time, but the Illinois Fire Marshall is investigating as per procedure.

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