Fire destroys building, semis at Sesser Concrete


Fire destroyed a building Wednesday night at a Sesser business, and quick action by fire fighters kept it from becoming a much bigger problem.

Fire fighters were called to a building at Sesser Concrete Products at about 6 p.m. on Wednesday. A vehicle storage building and two semis parked inside were fully engulfed.

Fuel tanks just outside the building were a concern, but fire fighters were able to keep them from burning.

The fire was extinguished in about an hour. Fire departments from Waltonville, Valier and Christopher assisted Sesser fire fighters at the scene.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Officials investigate suspicious house fire in Orient

West Frankfort firefighters were called just before midnight Monday to a house fire on Franklin Street in Orient.
When fire crews arrived, there was a small fire detected at the rear of the home. Firefighters were able to extinguish the fire quickly as it appeared to be smoldering grass or twigs.
According to sources, the fire may have been intentionally set. Sources say the homeowner informed authorities that a threat had been made following an argument earlier in the evening.
No official details are available, but some aggressive police work reportedly led to an arrest. It is believed that authorities followed footprints in the snow to a subject’s residence. is awaiting release of any name(s) associated with the arrest in the  possible arson fire.

House fire in Franklin County


Firefighters from five departments battled a weekend house fire in rural Franklin County. The call was to a home on Rend City Road, near Gulley Lane. Reports are that the home was heavily damaged.

According to authorities, it is reported that the occupants of the home were away at the time of the fire.

Cause of the fire is being determined. Water had to be brought to the scene and contained in a holding structure to be used by firefighters.

Community group formed to support Candy Cane Lane


Following a fire at Candy Cane Lane founder Tim Murphy’s property Thursday morning that authorities are calling suspicious, a group of West Frankfort residents has formed to support Murphy and the famous Christmas display.

The cause of the fire, which burned a storage shed owned by Murphy, is still unknown. The building was used to house Candy Cane Lane displays as well as personal items owned by Murphy. Most display items were still out for the season, and were not damaged by the fire.

But numerous incidences of vandalism and theft have been reported at Candy Cane Lane this year, the most recent being on Christmas Eve, when vandals sliced holes in Murphy’s blow-up display items. They had been put in the shed to be repaired for next year and were burned up in the fire.

A small group of residents, including former and current Frankfort Community High School art students taught by Murphy, gathered at Candy Cane Lane Thursday night to collect donations, and then met at the West Frankfort McDonald’s to discuss how best to help.

“First and foremost, we have to make him (Murphy) feel like people are behind him and supporting him,” organizer Kerri Melvin said.

Group members said they want to raise enough money to make Candy Cane Lane more secure from vandals and thieves next year, possibly by installing camera surveillance, a fence behind Murphy’s property and/or hiring a security guard for the season.

The new group, which is being called “Friends of Candy Cane Lane,” collected $821 on Thursday night, from people driving through the neighborhood to show support.

They plan to set up an account at First Bank and begin accepting donations there after 1 p.m. today.

Update 12:55 p.m. 12/28/2012: The group has set up the account at Southern Illinois Bank. Donations can be sent to the Friends of Candy Cane Lane c/o Southern Illinois Bank, P.O. Box 128, West Frankfort, IL 62896.

The group discussed a number of fundraising ideas to be held throughout the year. Tentative plans call for an initial event in January that would feature a slate of bands and be called “Murph’s Winter Jam.” The group is searching for an appropriate venue for that event.

Other tentative events discussed for the year include a family-oriented mostaccioli dinner with a silent auction, and a poker run.

The group is looking for more volunteers and fundraising ideas. A second meeting is tentatively scheduled for 7 p.m. Jan. 4 at La Fiesta restaurant in West Frankfort.

A Facebook page has been set up here to disseminate information, and you can e-mail for more information.

West Frankfort residents escape Thursday afternoon fire

West Frankfort firefighters work to extinguish a blaze at 707 S. Sunnyslope in West Frankfort.

A pair of West Frankfort residents were able to safely escape an early afternoon fire at their home, 707 S. Sunnyslope in West Frankfort. Witnesses tell that when the fire broke out, the older couple were trying to save valuables in the home, when a passerby helped lead them to safety.
Fire crews are still on the scene of the blaze, with firefighters from Benton and Johnston City there on the scene and in mutual aid.
This is the second structure fire for West Frankfort firefighters today, after a fire at daybreak destroyed a storage building owned by Tim Murphy, at the heart of the Candy Cane Lane Christmas display. That building is a total loss, and the cause of the fire has not bee determined..

Candy Cane Lane storage building a total loss in early morning fire

West Frankfort fire fighters look for hot spots after an early morning fire consumed a storage building at Candy Cane Lane.


West Frankfort firefighters were called to a storage building fire early Thursday morning on Candy Cane Lane. The building was owned by the extensive Christmas display’s founder Tim Murphy. It was fully engulfed when firefighters arrived, and was a total loss.

Murphy told that among the items destroyed in the blaze was his own personal scooter, and his late fathers truck, which he kept in the building. Numerous other items also were kept inside.

“Normally my own truck would have been inside, but not last night,” he said.

And the building served as a storage area for the hundreds of Christmas display items now out in Murphy’s yard for the holiday season.

The West Frankfort Fire Department responded with numerous apparatus including the rig which allowed them to shoot water down on the pole barn structure. The aerial ladder provided that capability and other units were there in support, along with the WFFD ambulance.

 All that remained of the building was rubble, which firefighters continued to probe in the eight o’clock hour for hot spots.
The cause of the fire is not know at this early stage, but remains under investigation.
Murphy himself seems convinced of the cause.
“Someone set it,” he immediately replied when asked. There was also a previous fire in the same building a few months prior to this morning’s fire.
Candy Cane Lane, which grew out of Murphy’s elaborate home displays decades ago into a multi-block drive-through affair that draws thousands each Christmas season, has been the scene of numerous acts of vandalism this year. The wooden displays have been spray-painted and moved, and display items and floodlights have been stolen. will continue to follow this story and update as the fire’s cause is investigated.

Fire destroys abandoned home in West Frankfort


A home in the 600 block of North Jefferson Street in West Frankfort was destroyed by fire Sunday evening.

Firefighters were called to the scene about 5:30 p.m., after a passerby saw flames shooting out of the roof of the building.

Officials said the house was abandoned, with no one living there and utilities turned off.

Fire fighters were challenged in protecting neighboring structures, including a garage just a few feet away. No other structures were damaged in the blaze.


Firefighters called to West Frankfort home

West Frankfort fire fighters responded to a call this morning for a possible electrical fire in the 200 block of East Elm Street.


West Frankfort firefighters were called to a possible electrical fire Wednesday morning. Firefighters were summoned just after 9 a.m., at the report of smoke coming from the rear of the home.

Two residents said they noticed smoke, but did not know the source. They exited the home safely.

The home is located at 212 East Elm Street in West Frankfort.

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