American Red Cross helping renters after fire destroys Lake Geneva home

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Andrea Anderson
Wednesday, January 20, 2016

LAKE GENEVA—The American Red Cross is helping residents of a multi-unit house lost to a fire Tuesday in Lake Geneva as authorities investigate the fire's cause and origin.

The fire was reported at 11:41 a.m. Tuesday at a three-unit home at 1195 Elm St., according to a joint news release from the Lake Geneva police and fire departments.

When Lake Geneva firefighters arrived, the two-story house was engulfed in flames, and firefighters requested assistance from 13 other area fire and EMS crews.

The fire department does not give damage estimates, but the house is considered a total loss, said Lake Geneva Fire Department Capt. Mark Moller-Gunderson.

Four residents escaped from the first-floor unit before police arrived. When police arrived, three people—two female adults and one infant—were trapped on the roof of the home, according to the release.

The mother of the child threw the infant to an officer, who safely caught the child. The mother then jumped from the roof, resulting in a minor leg injury. She was taken to an area hospital and was expected to be released Wednesday afternoon, Moller-Gunderson said.

The other woman fell onto an officer after a neighbor's ladder broke while the woman was trying to descend, the release states. She was not injured.

One police officer was treated and released from an area hospital for a possible neck injury, Moller-Gunderson said. The child was taken to a hospital for observation because of possible smoke inhalation. The infant may be in the hospital longer than a day, he said.

He did not immediately know the age or gender of the child.

Crews remained at the scene until 7 p.m. Tuesday. There was no damage to area buildings.

At least seven renters lived in the three units, Moller-Gunderson said.

“This could have been a very tragic fire, had it occurred during the night,” Fire Chief Brent Connelly said in a statement. “It had a very good start on us and was well involved before we pulled our first line. The police officers and neighbors are to be commended for their rescue efforts that saved lives. We are thankful the injuries were not more serious. Our crews worked very hard on a tough fire, with great help from our mutual aid companies.”

Last updated: 2:46 pm Wednesday, January 20, 2016

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