Woman killed in fire, loved ones hurt trying to save her

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Kendall Downing

MOUNT VERNON, Ill. — Two men desperately tried to save their disabled loved one from her burning home but it was too late.

The home at 404 Perkins Avenue in Mount Vernon caught fire around midnight last night. Inside was 51-year-old Carol Rainey, a disabled woman who had no way to escape.

Her ex-husband and son were at another home just down the block and they tried to rescue her. Their attempts were unsuccessful and they were both injured in the process.

Robert Rainey heard the commotion from just a few streets over.

"Something on the scanner said 400 block of Perkins. My sweetheart lives there," said Rainey.

His step-son Gary Stone ran outside and took off around the corner to his mother's house.

"I drove up as close as I could, because I knew if I couldn't get in there, it probably wouldn't be much left of her," said Rainey.

His ex-wife, 51-year-old Carol Rainey, died inside her small home. She suffered from Parkinson's disease and had trouble walking.

Investigators found her in the floor. It's likely she was trying to escape the flames.

"It was just heart-wrenching to sit there," said Rainey.

Police held Rainey back from the flames, even handcuffing him. He hurt his knee working to get inside.

His stepson Gary slashed his arm trying to make it to his mother. Doctors in St. Louis repaired his tendons Monday morning.

"He's going to be okay. I hope and pray," said Rainey.

Some in the family are calling Gary a hero.

"To me, I would look at him as a hero," said Misty Fultz, a cousin. "He jumped in there and tried to save his mom."

Robert Rainey said even though he and his ex-wife had problems in the past, he never quit loving her.

"I think I cried a river of tears last night and I'll probably cry some more, over and over," said Rainey.

His sadness stems from the regret that he couldn't do more to save her.

The Mount Vernon Assistant fire chief confirmed to Local 6 that Carol Rainey was a smoker.

The Illinois State Fire Marshal's Office will be looking into a cause. Foul play is not suspected.

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