Local man escapes devastating house fire

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ELK MOUND, Wis. (WEAU) -- There’s devastation in a local neighborhood as a fire rips through a house, leaving a man homeless.

Crews were called to the house in Elk Mound around 9:30 Thursday morning.

After sitting down to breakfast, Darland Hague said he heard an alarm.
“I opened the basement door and holy man, when I opened the door, it jumped right from the floor to the floor above,” Hague said.

When he went to call for help, there was a big problem.

“My phone burnt the wires off right away and that went dead so I couldn't call 911. I went right out to the garage the way I was and went over to the fire hall. I hollered at them and said ‘Hey, my house is on fire’,” Hague said.

Elk Mound and several other local fire departments rushed to the home on Wapiti Lane.

The Fire Chief said the fire started in the basement but there's no official cause yet.

“The house at this point is more than likely going to be a total loss. The fire got up into the ceiling and it’s difficult at that point in these conditions to try to fight a fire that's up in the roof. We have problems right now with air packs freezing up, hose lines freezing up, nozzles, guys are getting cold. This time of the year is terrible,” said Elk Mound Fire Chief Les Schafer.

The homeowner said the fire started after he cleaned his wood-burning stove.

“When I emptied the ashes I think it went over the side of the bucket. I should have swept it up right at the time,” Hague said.

Hague lives alone and wasn't hurt.

“I was planning on getting ready to try to sell this so I can move into an apartment. I guess now I’ll go faster than what I figured,” Hague said.

He said he’s thankful for the neighbors that took him in to get warm while firefighters were battling the blaze.

“Boy, they've been wonderful this morning already,” Hague said.

Hague said he's getting help from the American Red Cross and will be staying at a hotel while he figures out where to go next.

ELK MOUND, Wis. (WEAU)-A house is destroyed in Elk Mound after a morning fire.

The Elk Mound Fire Department says it started around 9:30 Thursday morning on Wapiti Lane. The fire is now extinguished, but crews are still working on putting out hotspots.

The chief says the fire started in the basement, but there's no word on an official cause. The homeowner says it could be because of a wood stove.

The chief is urging people living nearby to keep their doors and windows closed because of the wind blowing smoke.

A firefighter was treated and released with a minor injury. The Red Cross is helping out the man who lived in the home.

We'll have more on this story coming up on later newscasts.