Apartment fire displaces 16 families

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Steven Bluske said he was about to take a nap Monday afternoon.
 
“I looked out the front window, and could see nothing but smoke, and I ran out the door,” said Bluske.
 
He, his fiance and their two cats made it out safely.
 
“Words can't express how I feel. Just an emotional roller coaster,” said Bluske.
 
They're one of 16 families who were displaced after a fire at an apartment complex at 3020 South 22nd Street in La Crosse.
 
The La Crosse Fire Department said it was called there just after 3:00 Monday afternoon.
 
Division chief of fire prevention Craig Snyder said the fire was caused by unattended food left on the stove in a second floor unit.
 
“A tenant was cooking using some oil in a pot that was left unattended and the pot overheated, ignited the oil in the pot and caught the cabinets on fire,” said Snyder.
 
Snyder said cooking fires are the number one cause of fires across the country.
 
The building has severe fire and smoke damage and some water damage.
 
Snyder said when there's a fire you want to make sure your doors are closed before you leave.

This prevents the fire from spreading.
 
“I know that there's panic that can be ensuing at that time, but shutting a door would have made a tremendous difference in this fire,” said Snyder.
 
No one was hurt and everyone including pets made it out safely.
 
The Red Cross is helping the families impacted by the fire find places to stay.
 
Bluske and his fiance are staying with his mother.


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