Janesville43°

Family homeless after Fulton Township Fire

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Stacy Vogel
May 29, 2008
— Scot Eisenbraun stared at what little remained of his not-quite-3-year-old home Wednesday afternoon.

A blackened shell stood crumbling over a stone base. Four stone pillars represented what once was a garage.


A car sat in the driveway blackened with soot, its windshield cracked by the heat.


The only color in the yard came from two turquoise plastic wagons, melted into grotesque shapes by the flames.


Scot lamented the mementos of his six children—four living at home—lost in the blaze.


“All their pictures. We made movies, field trips to Disney World. Christmas. All the ornaments. It’s all gone. It’s hard to believe.”


Only 15-year-old Katie and 4-year-old Nate were at the home at 11636 Heritage Ridge when the fire began around 1:30 p.m. Jessica, 6, and Miles, 5, were at school, and Scot’s wife, Lynn, was at a doctor’s appointment.


Katie grabbed Nate and left the home when she realized the house was on fire, Scot said. She called 911, tried her mom but couldn’t get through, then called Scot.


“She’s like, ‘The house is on fire,’” he said. “She’s crying on the phone.”


Firefighters believe the blaze started from a heat lamp that was left on the couch.


By the time firefighters arrived, the $300,000 house was engulfed in flames, said Brian Demrow, chief of the Edgerton Fire Department. Firefighters from Milton, Cambridge, Stoughton, Evansville, Deerfield and the town of Turtle also responded. They couldn’t do much except spray water onto the blaze.


The house and contents were a total loss, Demrow said.


Three hours after the call, firefighters and EMTs wandered between the still-smoldering remains and the ambulances parked down the block in the upscale, rural Woodlands subdivision in Newville. A few neighbors watched from a safe distance.


Lynn and the children took refuge in a neighbor’s house as Red Cross officials tried to determine their needs.


The family hails from northern Illinois and has no family in the immediate area, Scot said.


Nate, the youngest son, has a paralyzed diaphragm. He has trouble breathing and chewing and gets most of his nutrients from Pediasure, he said. The family kept a stockpile of the drink in its home, and one of its first priorities was making sure Red Cross could provide more.


Scot had no idea what the family would do in the short term, but he already was talking about rebuilding Wednesday.


He spoke in a calm yet stunned voice, dressed in his business clothes and clutching a Bluetooth cell phone device.


“You don’t plan for it,” he said. “God, it’s such a shock.”



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