16 apartment units displaced by box alarm fire on Westport Road

WESTPORT, Wis. — More than 20 people have been displaced by a fire at an apartment complex at 5323 Westport Road.

According to Dane County Dispatch, the call came in at 7:52 a.m. Tuesday.

A representative with the Waunakee Fire Department said based off of the information in the initial call, before firefighters even arrived on scene they called a box alarm. That triggered responses from multiple other fire departments, including Waunakee, Deforest, Sun Prairie, Lodi, Cross Plains, Maple Bluff and Middleton.

The Salvation Army’s Emergency Disaster Services team was also on scene.

Officials said firefighters were able to get the fire under control in a couple hours, but the building appears to be a total loss. They believe the fire was caused by careless use of smoking materials.

Luckily, all residents were able to get out safely and no one was injured.

The American Red Cross said it’s providing assistance for 22 people to get temporary housing.

A Box Alarm Fire In Westport

One resident, Nate Lischko, said the residents worked together to evacuate the building.

“It was a collective group of everyone getting out of the apartment. We’ve lived together for probably five years and we know each other fairly well,” Lischko said. “The moment people said ‘fire,’ people started knocking on doors.”

Lischko also said he didn’t hear a fire alarm until minutes after almost everyone was already outside.

A Waunakee fire official said that’s likely because the fire started on the exterior of the building. In an apartment building, smoke needs to get to a common area such as the hallway to set off the alarm.