DEVELOPING: Street near fire scene open to traffic, cause of fire under investigation

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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - A woman and toddler escaped a burning home Wednesday morning.

Eau Claire firefighters spent hours putting out flames at the home on the 800 block of Main Street after it was reported shortly after 10:00 a.m.

No one was hurt in the fire, but much of the home is gone.

Heather Stachoviak said she was at her boyfriend Caleb Prusinski's home watching his 3-year-old daughter Lauren Prusinski’s when the TV went out.

“We were all in the living room, talking and waking up and an hour later, we're all outside, crying and just glad everyone's ok," Stachoviak said. “I noticed there was smoke coming from the ceiling fan. And then as I looked upstairs, I saw a ton of smoke and so we just got out of the house,” Stachoviak said.

With everyone out safely, Stachoviak said she called 911, and then Caleb.

“I ran home,” Caleb Prusinski said.

“When they opened the door, the flames actually immediately came out the front door,” Brock Rizzo, who lives across the street, said.

The fire grew stronger as the smoke blackened the air.

Firefighters battled the flames for hours as the old home's roof caved in.

“Smoke got thicker and thicker. Firefighters got their hoses off the truck relatively quickly,” Rizzo said.

“Being possibly renovated over the years makes it very difficult in a lot of cases to put these fires out,” Eau Claire Fire Inspector Michael Laska said.

“With all the smoke damage, it looks like it's gonna be completely, everything's going to be gone,” Prusinski said.

With smoke rising and water falling, Prusinski and Stachoviak said they're thankful for their lives and the support they're getting.

“It could've happened when we were sleeping and it probably would've been a lot worse if we were ... Just thankful it happened when it did and just move on from there,” Stachoviak said.

“It's just hard to take in how all the stuff that's gone too. But it's just material things,” Prusinski said.

Prusinski said he does have insurance but hasn’t heard how much will be covered.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Xcel Energy said about 300 people were without power as firefighters put out the flames, but that all homes have been restored.


(EAU CLAIRE FIRE DEPARTMENT NEWS RELEASE) - At 10:09 on 03/27/13 the Eau Claire Fire and Rescue was dispatched to a structure fire in a home on the City’s eastside.

We arrived to find smoke coming from the first floor. All occupants were out of the home when we arrived. First crew to arrive quickly assessed the situation and pulled fire hoses to extinguish the fire. First in crew encountered thick black smoke and extreme high heat. Just after entering the home the crew had heavy fire in the front room of the home. They extinguished fire on first floor but the fire had extended to the second floor. Additional crews fought fire on both the first and second floor.

As the fire extended into the second floor of the home, firefighters experience limited access to the second floor do to structural damage to the interior stairs.

Other crews assisted interior firefighting by ventilating the roof. Ventilation holes were completed with the help of the ladder on Truck 6.

After the initial fire attack, crews were kept busy locating and extinguishing fire in the second floor and roof area.

Fire inspector was on scene conducting the initial fire investigation.

No estimate on damage at this point.
EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - Several area firefighters battled a fire that broke out Wednesday morning at a home on the 800 block of Main Street in Eau Claire.

Firefighters say a woman was babysitting a girl in the home and called for help after seeing smoke shortly after 10 a.m. Both escaped the fire before crews got there. The three people who live here were not home at the time.

The cause of the fire and how much damage it left has not been determined yet.

As of noon, crews had blocked off Main Street from Talmadge St. to Winter St., and a couple blocks of Grove St. Those streets have since re-opened.

We'll have the very latest in live reports tonight on WEAU 13 News at 5 and 6.

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