Woodford County house fire claims life of East Peoria man

By Holly Eaton for Chronicle Media

An early morning fire Jan. 18 took the life of James Reeves, 69, of 295 Old Germantown Road in Woodford County. No one else was at the residence and no other fatalities or injuries were reported. (Photo by Holly Eitenmiller/for Chronicle Media)

Despite the efforts of three fire departments, an early-morning fire has claimed the life of an East Peoria man.

Nearly 45 firefighters from Spring Bay, Germantown Hills and Metamora responded to a call 2:46 a.m. Friday regarding a fire at 295 Old Germantown Road.

The single-story home, at the end of a long gravel driveway, was completely engulfed in flames, and took around 30 minutes to extinguish.

James Reeves, 69, was pronounced dead at the scene by Woodford County Coroner Tim Ruestman.

Reeves was the only person at the residence and no other fatalities or injuries were reported.

Germantown Hills Fire Protection District assistant chief Ed Madden said the fire had likely begun well before responders were called, according to the scope of the fire upon their arrival.

Most of the homes on Old Germantown Road sit far back from the road, and aren’t very visible to passersby.

Old Germantown Road runs parallel to Illinois Rte. 116, just west of Germantown Hills in Woodford County.

Reeves death is the first fatality the fire district has faced in its 56-year history. The cause of fire is under investigation.