By Cris Cawthon
St. Peter, Illinois was dealing with more than freezing temperatures. The small town of around 300 people was faced with a fire downtown during the early morning hours of Sunday, January 14, 2024. The wind gust increased the spread of the fire which led to the destruction of four downtown businesses.
With freezing water and a water shortage caused by a drop in water pressure, firefighters had to haul water in from surrounding towns. A transformer blew and left 1,000 in St. Peter and surrounding towns without power. Power was later restored around 3:00 p.m.
Patty Williams, a 50 year volunteer with the American Red Cross Chapter of Centralia was called out to assist with setting up a warming center at the Lutheran church. The Lutheran school had a lot of food already prepared for an event that didn’t take place, so they provided the food to feed anyone at the center. “The Red Cross helped to serve the food and provided breakfast for the firefighters,” said volunteer Williams.