JACKSON COUNTY, Wis. (WEAU) - Two toddlers and a 2011 arson suspect are among the six people now in need of a home after a fire in Jackson County.
Konstanze Brown said she came home Friday night and heard from her upstairs neighbor who said the power was out.
Nicole Fayerweather, who lived upstairs, called her electric company and soon saw smoke, Brown said.
“We opened up in the ceiling, there was a ceiling light in the kitchen and an electrical light going to that, other than that, I don't know of any other cause that would create the fire,” Black River Falls Fire Chief Steve Schreiber said.
Crews used a thermal imaging camera to find the source of the fire in the second-floor ceiling and were able to put it out with the building still standing, Schreiber said.
Kyle Rott lived downstairs and his family says he was unfairly blamed for this fire. He's currently charged and admitted to burning down the Rustic Mill Restaurant in Black River Falls in 2011.
“(Rott) was at work for almost 10 hours before it even started, and everyone's trying to point the finger at him and I’m like, ‘There's no way,’” Brown, Rott’s fiancé, said.
“I was concerned but after talking to the fire chief and I talked to him the night of the fire … He knew of the individual and said this was not an arson,” building owner Chuck Bennett said.
No one was hurt, and few if any personal items were damaged but the two families, each with a toddler of their own and no renters insurance, are looking for a place to go.
“I do still have everything, but I don't have a place to live and I have a one- year-old daughter. That's not cool,” Brown said.
“The biggest thing is that no one was hurt, that was huge. And there were babies involved and I realize the building can be fixed but I feel bad for the two families because it's Christmas and they don't have any place to go, so that's a tough situation,” Bennett said.
“It'd be a good idea to have a backup plan,” Brown said.
Bennett said he does plan on fixing the damage, but didn't know when the home would be livable again.
Rott has a court appearance for the Rustic Mill case set for Jan.
For information on that case, see the link below.
BRF Fire Department Press Release--
The Black River Falls Fire Department was paged by the Jackson County Emergency Dispatch Center (EDC) on December 20, 2013 at 23:59 for smoke coming from a roof vent of the apartment building - duplex.
The location of the fire was 205 East Second Street (Hwy. 12 South) in the Township of Brockway, County of Jackson and State of Wisconsin.
The fire was reported to the EDC by a Black River City Utility Lineman at the address. The lineman had been called to the address for a power failure in the second floor apartment area.
Upon arrival the department had a 34’ W x 48’ L two story brick structure with smoke venting out a roof vent. No flames were visible at this time. The structure is a two story duplex with one apartment of the ground floor and another on the second story. Occupants of both apartments were evacuated from the structure
The department’s thermo imaging camera was used to locate the fire which was between the ceiling and the flat roof of the second floor apartment. The fire was found to be located above the kitchen. The department made an offensive (interior) attack on the fire by pulling the ceiling to expose the area burning. The fire was extinguished with 1.75” line and about 200 gallons of water with Class A Foam.
The cause of the fire is not known for sure at this time but, electrical wiring to a ceiling light in the kitchen is being looked at.
Structure damage is confined to the second floor apartment. The second floor apartment also has smoke and water damage. The first floor apartment has smoke damage. A total damage estimate is not known at this time.
The owner of the property, Charles Bennett of Mineral Point, WI does have insurance on the property. The occupants of the duplex are Shawn and Nicole Fayerweather on the second floor and Kyle Rott and Konstanze Brown on the ground floor. The occupants are being assisted by the Red Cross.
The department was on scene with 11firefighters for 2 hours.
No civilian or firefighters injuries were reported.
Mutual aid was requested from and provided by the Merrillan Fire Department for additional firefighters.
The department also received assistance from Black River City Utilities who cut the power to the property. The Jackson County Sheriffs Department provided traffic control and direction as East Second Street (Hwy. 12) was closed as the department had a water supply hose line across the roadway from a fire hydrant. The Jackson County Highway Department was also requested spread salt on the roadway.