UPDATED: Edgerton family of 13 displaced by house fire
EDGERTON—Authorities say nobody was hurt in a fire that did major damage to a three-story historic home near downtown Edgerton, but a family with 11 children has been displaced.
Edgerton Fire Chief Brian Demrow said 22 fire departments from southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois battled a blaze that wracked a Victorian-era home overnight at 211 Albion St., Edgerton.
The fire, which Demrow said appears to have started as a result of a furnace malfunction on the third floor of the home. A man Demrow said is the homeowner said he heard a banging noise then a crackling sound just before 2 a.m.
He went to check it out and saw flames in the furnace room on the third floor where one of the 5,000-square-foot furnaces is located.
Demrow said the fire quickly spread inside the wood and plaster walls and flashed through the third floor, which is where most of the home’s bedrooms are located. He said that the family evacuated the home and no one was injured. 11 children live in the house, but only 10 were home at the time according to neighbors.
The family is staying with neighbors while insurance agents and officials take stock of damage at the home. Red Cross has said it is assisting family members, who were uninjured in the fire, Demrow said.
Demrow could not give an estimate of damages at the house, but he said the fire’s toll was “extensive, very extensive.”
He said that fire crews had to knock down many of the second and third floor walls and ceilings to reach the fire, which flashed through the 108-year-old home’s connected walls. Other parts of the home have heavy water damage, Demrow said.
From the street, a Gazette reporter observed heavy damage to the roof and gables of the house. Water from the firefight was frozen on the roof and down the sides of the house and. Some rooms visible from the street had sheets of thick ice on the walls, ceilings and door frames.
It took about 14,000 gallons of water to knock down the fire, officials said. The fire department had to head back to the home shortly before 1 p.m. today to extinguish a hot spot in the house that had reignited, the fire department reported.
Demrow said about 90 firefighters at the scene battled brutally cold weather overnight. He said it took firefighters from about 2:10 a.m. until just after 6 a.m. today to knock the fire down.
At any given time during the fire, between 10 and 12 firefighters were cycling in and out of the home to fight the blaze, Demrow said. He said a local bus company provided a bus for fire crews to use to warm up, and a nearby church also opened its doors to crews.
Fire crews were able to keep hoses and other gear from freezing in the single-digit temperatures last night, Demrow said.
But he said he’d had to call in many departments to relieve firefighters, because hypothermia and exposure to cold and freezing water were concerns for the dozens of fire crews who were in and out of the house helping to battle the blaze, Demrow said.
Fire crews from Dane, Rock, Jefferson and Walworth counties helped at the fire, along with fire departments from Winnebago County, Ill.