Janesville33.5°

Coroner identifies victim in fatal mobile home fire

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Stacy Vogel
March 7, 2009
— Linda Pernot is reminded every time she looks out the window that her son is gone.

Duane Pernot, 34, lived across a narrow muddy track from his parents in a trailer at 8441 N. Highway 14, Lot 15. He died Thursday in a fire that destroyed the trailer.


"I can't sit in the house and look at the trailer," Linda said.


But even when the burnt shell of trailer is out of her view, she can still smell the acrid scent of fire.


It took more than a day to positively identify Duane through dental records. Forensic odontologist Dr. Don Simley performed the dental records comparison Friday in Madison.


But Linda and her husband, Steven Pernot, knew he was the victim in the fire that swept through the trailer at about 2:30 a.m. Thursday. Authorities believe the fire was caused by a wood-burning stove.


Linda described her son as a positive person who loved racing, farming and animals. His coonhound also died in the fire.


He loved his job at a berry farm near Belleville, Linda said. He was a volunteer firefighter for four years in Brooklyn, she said.


Duane grew up in Belleville, graduating from Belleville High School in 1993, Linda said. Besides his parents, he leaves behind three sisters: Vicki Olson, Stephanie Pernot and Pamela Loeffelholz and a girlfriend, Mary Anderson.


Stephanie's fiancÚ, Chris Fillner, was Duane's best friend, she said.


"We're doing rough," Linda said. "It's hard to accept your son is gone. We're just going day by day."


The family is planning a funeral service Saturday, March 14, at Becker Beal Funeral Home, Belleville. Visitation is at noon, with the service at 2 p.m.


The final cause of death is under investigation, according to the Rock County Coronor's Office. Toxicology results are pending.



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