Fire at vacant home accidental; estimated $366K damage

The fire at a vacant home last week in Shorewood Hills was deemed accidental, fire officials said Friday.

The cause of the fire was still undetermined Friday, but the Madison Fire Department spokeswoman said the fire at the empty house on the 3500 block of Blackhawk Drive was “accidental in nature.”

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The Madison Fire Department said a neighbor reported at 6:08 a.m. that she thought a fire was brewing in a nearby house on the 3500 block of Blackhawk Drive. The neighbor told officials she saw a bright light that was possibly caused by flames in the basement and smoke on the first and second floors.

Crews began fighting the fire in the basement and first floor and firefighters started to search inside for occupants, according to the report. When firefighters entered the home, they encountered thick black smoke and zero visibility. As they progressed across the first floor, they said the floor had a “spongy” feel to it and deemed it unsafe. All crews backed out of the home and began a defensive attack from outside the house.

After the visible fire was knocked down from the outside, firefighters re-entered the structure. They avoided the partially collapsed first floor and searched for hidden fire inside walls, ceilings and the attic, according to the report.

Madison fire officials said that though the fire appeared to have started in the basement, crews also encountered active fire in the walls of the first floor and attic.

The MFD Heavy Urban Rescue Team was called to the scene to build a temporary support structure for the collapsed floor. A sump pump was also used to drain 6 inches of water from the basement, the report said.

Fire officials said the home was for sale, and the previous owners were no longer living there.

Nobody was inside the home when the fire began, and nobody, including firefighters, was injured.