DIAMOND, IL – A devastating incident unfolded at a residential property in the 1200 block of S Heritage Drive as it became the scene of a fatal home fire Friday evening. The Coal City Fire Protection District (FPD) responded swiftly to the distress call around 5 p.m., but despite their valiant efforts, a life was tragically lost. The victim was identified Saturday as Valerie Morris, aged 77.
According to the State Fire Marshal reports, the fire started in or around a reclining chair at the home. Richard and Valerie Morris, both occupants of the house, were home at the time of the incident. They attempted to extinguish the fire but were overcome by smoke, leading to a desperate situation.
Coal City Firefighters Local 4884 reported Saturday an off-duty firefighter, William Perry, was passing by the residence at the time and noticed the billowing smoke and rushed to help. Perry managed to rescue Mr. Morris from the engulfed house but was unable to reach Valerie Morris due to the heavy smoke. Valerie Morris was pronounced deceased at 5:38 p.m.
Richard Morris was transported to Morris Hospital, where he is currently reported to be in good condition.
“Firefighter/Paramedic William Perry, you are a prime example of the self-sacrifice and determination necessary in our community and in today’s fire service,” Coal City Firefighters Local 4884 said in a Facebook posting. “As an organization, we could not be more proud to call you a member of the Coal City Professional Firefighters Local 4884.”