Janesville50.3°

Fire displaces Janesville family

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Catherine W. Idzerda
December 21, 2011
— A trunk of Christmas presents, two cats and 15 years of memories went up in smoke Tuesday afternoon.

Janesville firefighters were dispatched to 1916 Mount Zion Ave. at 3:10 p.m. and found smoke pouring from the home.


An onlooker who tried to get into the house before firefighters arrived was immediately driven back by the heat and smoke.


No one was home at the time. Matt and Codie Tuescher and their two children—Nicholas, 5, and Gwenyth, 13, live at the home, as does a relative, Larry Schoville. Schoville lost his two cats.


The homeowners had put out a fire in the dryer's lint screen earlier in the day, according to a news release from the fire department. Investigators determined that the fire started in the dryer.


No one was injured.


Firefighters were able to rescue the family's small dog, Wiggles, who was in his kennel inside the home when the fire started. Wiggles was unconscious when firefighters carried him out, but they were able to revive him using an oxygen mask.


Wiggles was taken to Badger Veterinary Hospital for additional treatment. Veterinarian Kevin Kreier said the dog was in stable condition but had smoke and irritants in his lungs. The material caused some fluid build-up in the lung tissue around the dog's heart.


The Red Cross is working to find a place for the family to stay, Matt Tuescher said.


Damage to the home and its contents are estimated at $50,000, firefighters said.


"We won't be in that house for a long time, if at all," Matt Tuescher said. "We have 15 years of memories in that house."


When asked where the family would spend Christmas, Matt Tuescher said he had a brother and sister living in the area, but he wasn't sure what he was going to do next.


"It's pretty bad," Matt Tuescher said. "The fire started in the basement and went right up the stairs, and the Christmas presents were in a trunk at the top of the stairs."



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