On Tuesday, March 31 at 12:45 a.m. the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office 911 dispatcher received a call reporting a house trailer fire with one individual possibly inside. The home was located at 2011 Old Brushy Trail in Walshville near the Bond County line.
A Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy and an Illinois State Police Trooper arrived on scene at approximately 12: 55 a.m. According to the sheriff’s office, multiple neighbors were on scene attempting to get a subject out of the residence by cutting a hole in the trailer with a chainsaw. The deputy and trooper assisted in removing the man out of a hole that had been cut into the side of the house trailer. Shoal Creek Fire Protection District crews arrived and began fire suppression. The man removed from the burning residence, 32 year old Jeffrey D. Dunkirk, of Staunton, was pronounced deceased at the scene by Montgomery County Coroner Randy Leetham.
A Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Investigator, the Montgomery County Coroner’s Office, Illinois State Police Crime Scene Unit, and the Illinois Fire Marshal’s Office conducted an investigation. The fire was determined to be accidental.
According to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Jeffrey D. Dunkirk was at the residence visiting the homeowner and was attempting to stoke a wood burner within the residence. An unspecified type of fuel was used which created an explosion that injured Dunkirk. The fire was by the home’s only exit so the homeowner and Dunkirk retreated to the back of the trailer. Dunkirk sustained significant burns, yet assisted the homeowner out of a small bathroom window along with neighbors outside of the window. Once the homeowner was out of the window Mr. Dunkirk collapsed in the residence.
Multiple agencies assisted at the scene, including the Greenville, Litchfield, Taylor Springs, and Mt. Olive Fire Protection Districts and the Hillsboro Area Ambulance Service.