Beaver Dam residents react to 17-unit apartment building fire
BEAVER DAM, Wis. (WISC) — Beaver Dam residents are without a home as emergency crews investigate a fire that tore through the complex early Saturday morning.
Six people were hospitalized after the fire, and officials are still trying to track down all the building’s residents, some of whom might be out of town.
The sounds and smells of the early-morning fire woke up the Beaver Dam neighborhood, leaving them looking for answers.
“Well, I woke up to sirens,” 14-year-old Summer Meixner said. “How did this happen?”
“I could smell the smoke,” neighborhood resident Sandi Koehn said. She had hoped it wasn’t another fire.
@WISCTV_News3 We’re on scene at a Beaver Dam apartment complex fire. It’s contained but not totally extinguished. “Significant damage” and emergency crews are still working on locating occupants. pic.twitter.com/ki62t2MOZh
— Madalyn O’Neill (@news3madalyn) April 7, 2018
Fire officials said the apartment building didn’t have a sprinkler system.
About a dozen area agencies battled the fire over the course of hours, using both city water and water from the lake blocks away.
“Like every couple minutes, there’d be a new fire truck going down there,” Meixner said.
Of the six people hospitalized, one was a firefighter. His injuries were non-life-threatening, but the others’ conditions aren’t known.
Now that the flames are gone, little is left.
“It’s got to be hard to lose everything in a fire,” Koehn said. “There’s things you just can’t replace.”
“I wanted to see if they needed help,” Meixner said. She praises community members who brought food and drinks to firefighters and victims.
“My heart breaks for them, it really does,” she said. “I really hope they have family they can go to and for the people who were able to bring food and drinks for them, I’m really thankful for them.”
Help extends beyond the scene to Beaver Dam’s St. Vincent de Paul.
“We’re helping in all ways we can, whether it’s hotel vouchers, emergency needs, clothing, we’re filling that now,” store manager Benjamin Nelson said.
He believes that giving spirit spreads throughout the community, as shown by its response to an apartment complex explosion on Knaup Drive last month.
“We just took care of the Knaup Drive. The nice thing is we know how to respond to this,” Nelson said. “We have a wonderful community that gives in times of need, and I’m not going to blink in taking care of this group.”
For those looking to help, St. Vincent de Paul is partnering with American Bank to take donations.
The Red Cross is assisting with relocating residents.
The cause of the fire isn’t known yet.
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