HARRISTOWN -- A Macon County man is dead after a house fire early this morning. Crews were called to a house on Union School Road in Harristown before 2 A.M. 29 year-old John Gwin was pronounced dead at the scene. Neighbors say he had two kids, but only Gwin and his dog were in the house. Neighbors say it was a rude awakening on an otherwise quiet street.
Kelly Jennings says when she heard sirens in the middle of the night she thought it was something on tv. "And then i thought it was on the highway. I woke up to find out that our neighbor had been killed in the fire."
Crews from four fire departments were across the street trying to put it out. Investigators aren't sure how or where it started. They say the house burned for about 45 minutes.
Sgt. Scott Flannery of the Macon County Sheriff's Office says, "From hearing the officers that were out there, it is a total loss to the residence."
By the time the fire was out, firefighters went in to find John Gwin and his dog both dead.
Flannery says, "29 year-old kid. It's tragic all the way around." Jennings says Gwin "seemed like a really nice guy. Very nice. He would have parties out back."
Jennings says Gwin had people over for a bon fire just hours before the house went up in flames. She remembers people helping him with some yard work earlier that day. Since the fire some of them have come back to see the tragic scene for themselves.
"The traffic out here on our street is like nothing. It's like a ghost town. But since this, it's like every 5 minutes there's a car coming stopping watching. I know several of them have been his friends because they were all out here yesterday cutting limbs down. I just feel really bad for all of them."
Neighbors say she doesn't know his family, but she and others say they would see him playing in the yard with his kids.
They say seeing their toys laying around is hard to swallow.
"All I've thought about all day is him and his family. Walk the dog, he would say hi. Yeah, he was a nice guy. It's sad, he was young."
The Macon County Sherrif's Office and State of Illinois Fire Marshal's office are still investigating the fire. An autopsy for Gwin is scheduled for tomorrow.
Any time someone dies in a fire in Illinois -- state fire marshals take over. With any fire-related death, the county coroner gives that information to fire marshals. They then have control over the investigation into what started the fire.
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