ARGYLE, Wis. - The father and uncle of three children who were killed in a house fire on Friday in southwestern Wisconsin have been arrested on suspicion of arson.
The arrests were announced Sunday in a joint news release from the Village of Argyle Police Department, the Lafayette County Sheriff's Department, and the State Fire Marshal at the Division of Criminal Investigation.
Authorities said the father, Armin Wand III, of Argyle, is facing a tentative charge of arson of a building with intent to defraud.
The uncle, 18-year-old Jeremy Wand, also of Argyle, faces the same felony charge.
The statement said the investigation into Friday's fire is ongoing and no further information is available at this time.Father, uncle arrested in fatal Argyle fire
The boys' mother, Sharon Wand, 27, remains in critical condition at the University of Wisconsin Hospital in Madison.
Her sister-in-law said that Wand is four months pregnant, posting on Facebook over the weekend that "The doctors are not holding out much hope for her … and even less for the baby."
Shortly after 3 a.m. Friday, crews responded to a house fire in the 400 block of Oak Street.
While Sharon Wand, her husband, and their 2-year-old daughter escaped the fire alive, their three sons, ages 3, 5, and 7, did not.
Argyle police confirmed that Allen Wand, 7, Jeffery Wand, 5, and Joseph Wand, 3, died in the fire.
After the arrests were announced, neighbors were understandably shocked.
"The tragedy was bad enough, but now this it makes it much worse," said neighbor Lee Zurfluh.
Zurfluh said he hoped that the fire was caused by an electrical short or that maybe someone fell asleep while smoking a cigarette.
Anything. But not this.
"We just didn't think anyone could do that to the children," exclaimed Zurfluh.
Two days after the tragedy, Zurfluh got a message from his priest.
"He talked about how our problems, tragedies are so small, compared to like when something like this happens," said Zurfluh.
"It was sadness up until now," said neighbor Jada Berget. "It's frustration, anger."
Berget has four kids who went to school with the Wand boys.
"It would've probably been more closure to know it was just some horrible accident," said Berget. "I can't help to think forever I'll look out my window and think about my children."
What really happened on Oak Street will remain behind the walls of the Lafayette County Jail.
At least for now.
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