EDGAR COUNTY, Ill. (WAND) - Landscaping at an Edgar County home could be to blame for a recent fire.
“Thankfully, my mom caught the first one before it became more than this, because it could have been the whole house, truthfully," homeowner Rachel shared.
The fire warped siding on Rachel’s home and destroyed one of the trees in her landscaping. Anyone in a homeowner's shoes could have come to the conclusion that Rachel did.
“I assumed that it was my nephew smoking and carelessly throwing a cigarette, but he was in bed, he works night shift so I was like, it doesn't really seem possible, but maybe he woke up for a quick break," she explained.
However, thanks to a source close to the fire department, Rachel found her mulch could be to blame.
"She explained to me it's spontaneous combustion," she shared. "So basically, there's a heat pocket and the moisture, and when they get together, they create a fire."
The homeowner was in disbelief until it happened again.
"There had been nobody out here for hours," Rachel said. The last people out were putting this fire out. This is four or five hours later, she says, 'Yeah, there's another one starting up right over there!' She said, 'Are you serious?'"
Rachel says after this experience, she's being a lot more careful when it comes to her landscaping.
"We are replacing the mulch, and we're keeping it wet every day to make sure it doesn't happen until we're able to get all this out and get new mulch in, and hopefully that prevents the issue," she explained.
Loved ones have even taken a heat-detecting gun around the property to keep an eye on potential hot spots, because homeowners can never be too careful.
The homeowner says she's considering replacing the mulch in her landscaping with rocks. Rachel is also encouraging others to check that their smoke detectors work, and to consider putting them near the doors of their homes.