If you go to Google and search 414 Peach Street Washington, Illinois, after clicking on street view you’ll see a red barn on the left and a white house on the right.
The memories inside these white walls are now a thing of the past.
“There’s stuff I’d had in that house since I was 8 years old. One of the bedrooms was full of stuff I’d been collecting from Oklahoma, Indian stuff,” said Richie Anderson.
It was the morning of September 27th, 2018.
Richie and Angela Anderson were out running errands and came home to something unexpected.
“They had the street blocked off. Cop says you can go down as far as the big truck is. We went down there and when they said the fire is next to the red barn Angie freaked out and jumped out of the car.”
The North Tazewell Fire Protection District, Washington and East Peoria Fire Departments put out the flames.
The East Peoria investigator got to work trying to figure out what happened.
His wife Angela said, “I think back and I’m numb. I can’t describe it. It gives you a total different outlook on life.”
The home that Richie’s parents bought for them was a total loss.
Richie added, “We were just in shock. The main thing was the cats, loosing the cats. He found the one the next day and he burned all four of his little paws off trying to get out, so yeah it was pretty bad.”
“I had all these people asking me questions and then when I went down there and seen it afterwards…I didn’t go down for like 2 months,” said Angela Anderson.
They weren’t the only ones impacted.
Their neighbors siding still hasn’t been fixed.
It was wilted during the fire.
The Anderson’s had no choice but to start over, the first thing they had to do was get the land cleaned up.
A city worker gave them a list of contractors.
They got bids and chose Advance Demolition out of East Peoria.
Jamie Cassidy, the owner, gave them a contract showing they paid a down payment.
The couple was going to pay the rest when Cassidy finished the job, but that plan changed.
“His stick on his backhoe broke one day and I was nice enough to finish paying him off. He said I’ll be back up to do that little stuff in a couple of days. I’ve called for 2 or 3 months now. No return call. One day he responded about eating lunch with his family in a big long text when he simply could’ve called. He’s mad cause I called him 27 times in a row,” said Richie Anderson.
The couple was left with debris on the lawn, including their microwave and crockpot.
Heart of Illinois ABC called the city of Washington to ask if Cassidy ever got a permit to do work on the land.
Becky Holmes, Building and Zoning Supervisor, said he did not.
Holmes said she’s been trying to get in touch with him, but has had no luck.
Angela Anderson posted a review on Google stating her frustration with Advance Demolition.
Below her post was one from a woman named Shawna Maston-Rayner.
“Looking back when they quoted us so low that should’ve been a red flag for us. Everybody else was quoting at least double,” said Shawna Maston-Rayner.
Maston-Rayner says she and her husband were living in a home in the 100 block of Sunset Boulevard in North Pekin.
They moved and wanted it torn down.
Around October 31st, 2017 the couple wrote a check to Advance Demolition and was told the job would take about 4 days.
A woman from North Pekin Village Hall says he did get a permit for their property on November 6th, 2017.
A few days into the project Cassidy said he had a personal issue he needed to attend to, so his crew wouldn’t be able to be there for a few weeks.
Maston-Rayner added, “So it was more like a month. They came back started putting dirt in and then left. They came back a week later and went over with my husband what they had left to do. It was putting down dirt and leveling the property. We gave them the final check because it was only a little bit left to do and that was it, never saw them again.”
$4,400 out of their bank account.
The kicker of the whole thing is that the couple bought the house next door, so they could see everything as it was happening.
“When I would go mow the grass on the side there was still concrete there. They were supposed to come by and rake all that out and get it all out so when we go to build on that property it wouldn’t have any of that and they didn’t do that,” said Maston-Rayner.
Both couples thought they had hired a company they could trust.
“Left messages or it was just busy and we didn’t know what else to do. We figured we were just going to eat that loss. My husband tried to go down there but nobody answered the door,” said Maston-Rayner.
Heart of Illinois ABC went to the address listed on the companies website, 534 Sanford Street in East Peoria.
No one answered, so Jessica Cook left a note in the mailbox.
All calls went straight to voicemail as well.
As for Maston-Rayner and Richie and Angela Anderson, they say they’re frustrated by the situation.
“I just hope that nobody goes to this company and it’s sad because we wanted to go to a local company like a small business and help them out and this is what we got in return,” added Maston-Rayner.
Angela Anderson said, “I already lost everything. I feel like I’m being taken advantage of.”
When asked if he would trust Cassidy if he came back to do the work, Richie Anderson said, “I don’t really trust him, but I think he needs to fill his obligation to finish the job. He really needs to come back and dig all the block out because if I dig for a basement that’s going to make it hard and make sure my sewers are capped off…and then the tree and the storm shelter hole that’s supposed to be filled that I paid him extra for. If he wants to redeem himself I think he should come back and finish the job.”
Maston-Rayner says she also wants Cassidy to complete the work.
She wants to be refunded $1,000 for the money she’s spent on dirt.
Meanwhile, an East Peoria Fire Investigator says he still hasn’t determined what caused the fire at the Anderson property.
Holmes, with the city of Washington, has talked to Cassidy.
He told her he would pick up the permit for the Anderson property Tuesday.
As of April 10th, 2019 he has not.
Heart of Illinois ABC talked to Cassidy over the phone.
He said the Anderson’s are “on some kind of game” and that he “is liable and dropped the ball on Maston-Rayner’s property.
As of Tuesday, April 9th, Cassidy had not reached out to either couple, despite telling Heart of Illinois ABC he would.
This story will be updated as more information develops.