Illinois village sued over 4-year-old boy’s fire death

October 4, 2018

PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The mother of a 4-year-old boy who died in a house fire has sued a central Illinois village, arguing its fire department’s response was inadequate.

The lawsuit filed against Bartonville claims its volunteer firefighters took 12 minutes to arrive at the burning house on July 17 and didn’t seek immediate help from a Peoria fire station that’s about five minutes away.

John Bankes III died in the fire. The (Peoria) Journal Star reports the cause remains under investigation.

The lawsuit argues the village department showed “an utter disregard” for the boy’s safety. WEEK-TV reports Bartonville Mayor Leon Ricca declined to comment.

Peoria’s mayor has blamed four fire deaths in Bartonville and West Peoria over the past 11 years on the reluctance of volunteer departments to seek the city’s assistance.

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