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NEW INFORMATION: Car fire spreads to Eau Claire duplex, causing heavy damage


EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A car fire that quickly spread to a two-story duplex left heavy damage on Friday morning.

It happened on Bellevue Avenue on the north side of Eau Claire. Inspector Mike Laska with Eau Claire Fire and Rescue says he believes a car that a man who lives at the duplex had backed into the driveway malfunctioned, causing a fire. The man noticed smoke coming from the dashboard, so he turned off the car and ran in to find a fire extinguisher. When he went back outside, he saw flames between the windshield and the hood, and called for help.

Crews responded around 8:30 a.m. When they got there, the fire had spread up the side of the duplex to the second floor. Firefighters started putting out the fire, and Xcel Energy was called in to cut power to the duplex. Nobody was hurt. After putting the fire out, Laska says crews found a birdcage inside the duplex, with a parakeet that had survived the fire.

The fire burned off about two-thirds of the roof, and both units were left with water damage. Three people who rent the two units in the duplex were displaced. The owner of the duplex has another rental that's open, so the three people are staying there. A stretch of Bellevue Avenue was blocked off as crews fought the fire. The city later sent out a truck to salt and sand Bellevue because of water from the firefighting effort that had frozen in the cold.

Damage is estimated at $107,000.

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Eau Claire Fire and Rescue crews battled a house fire on Bellevue Avenue Friday morning. Flames could be seen shooting out of the roof of the house just before 9 a.m. Police had a stretch of Bellevue blocked off, and appeared to be moving barricades before 9 a.m.

The owners of the duplex say a single man lives in one side of the building and a married couple lives in the other side. The owners say they will provide another apartment for the occupants to stay at.

There's no word yet on what caused the fire. We will have more information as it becomes available on WEAU 13 News and online.


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