House near Beloit destroyed in morning fire

Authorities say home is a total loss
House near Beloit destroyed in morning fire
A number of crews responded to a suspected chimney fire on Highway 81 outside of Beloit on Sunday morning.

Officials said a house just west of Beloit is destroyed after what appears to be a chimney fire.

According to the Rock County Sheriff’s Department, an off duty Rock County dispatcher drove past a residence and dialed 911. She then drove up to the house and knocked on the door alerting 85-year-old Harold Kauffman that the house was on fire. Kauffman was able to get out safely.

When crews arrived, much of the building was fully engulfed.  The section of Highway 81 in front of the house was shut down to traffic for hours.

The definite cause of the fire is still under investigation, but the first smoke and flames detected were around the chimney area.

Firefighters and officers say the house appears to be a total loss, but the cost of that damage is still undetermined.

Orfordville Fire Department Assistant Chief Chad Cleasby said on scene that two dozen crews responded to the fire. Deputies later verified those first responders came from the town of Turtle, Milton, Beloit, the Town of Beloit, Orfordville, Evansville, Edgerton, South Beloit, Brodhead, Brooklyn, Monroe, Durand, and Rockton.

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The house belongs to Harold Kauffman’s son, Arthur Kauffman, 63, of Newark. Wenger says Arthur was out of town at the time of the fire.

Arthur Kauffman’s son-in-law, Phil Wenger, watched as the firefighters hosed down the scorched house.

“We’re going to all work together and clean up this mess,” Wenger said. “If we have to tear it down, we’ll tear it down. If we can salvage it, we’ll salvage it.”

Wenger said his family will now rely on his church to get them through.

“We’re going to accept what God has allowed in our lives and move on,” Wenger said.

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