Janesville31.4°

Three cats die in house fire

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
September 21, 2010
— Three cats died, but a Janesville man and his 18-month old son escaped without injury from a fire at their Tracey Road home Tuesday morning.

Homeowner Steve Jones also rescued two of the family’s dogs, according to Lt. Tom Fuller of the Janesville Fire Department.


Jones, 37, and his son, Andrew, were sleeping upstairs in the bi-level brick facade home at 4214 Tracey Road when “smoke in the vents,” alerted him to the fire, he said.


Jones, who stood shirtless outside, watched Janesville firefighters battle the fire.


“I didn’t hear any smoke alarms,’’ he said.


Ruchti said firefighters “didn’t find any working smoke detectors’’ in the home.


Firefighters know the fire started behind a desk in the corner of the front lower right bedroom.


“The fire remains under investigation and is believed to have been accidental. There were no signs of anything intentional,” Ruchti said.


Initial estimates list structural damage at $65,000 and loss of contents at $25,000, Ruchti said.


“There was heavy fire damage to the bedroom and then heat and smoke damage throughout the rest of the house,’’ Ruchti said.


Jones reported the fire at 8:08 a.m., he said.


“I don’t know what happened,’’ Jones said as he watched firefighters rotate in and out of the house as it continued belching smoke.


“We had smoke all across Tracey Road and heavy fire coming out of the lower level front bedroom upon arrival,” said Fuller, whose Station 3 crew was the first to arrive on scene.


Three fourths of the home’s doors and windows were open, which only fueled the fire, he said.


Although the fire was knocked down in less than 10 minutes, a Janesville Fire Department crew remained on scene until 11 a.m. evacuating smoke out of the house, helping the family recover items, putting out hot spots and assisting Fire Inspector Larry Hainstock, Ruchti said.


While Rock County Sheriff’s Office deputies blocked traffic at Cemetery and Eau Claire Roads, Alliant Energy crews shut off gas and electricity.


The local chapter of the American Red Cross was not notified but is being called, Ruchti said.


“They don’t need any housing, but they may need clothing and other things,” he said.


Jones’ wife, Brenda, and his 18-year-old stepson were not home at the time the fire broke out, Ruchti said.



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