RACINE, Wis. — Firefighters with the Racine Fire Department (RFD) were dispatched to nearly back-to-back fires within the city’s limits Wednesday and Thursday.
The fires, which took place on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive and High Street, were both identified as structure fires to multi-story residences, according to press releases by the Racine Fire Department.
Fire at Dr. Martin Luther King Drive leaves resident dead
At about 12:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8, fire and rescue personnel responded to 1105 Dr. Martin Luther King Drive for a report of a structure fire at a multi-family residence.
Upon their arrival at the scene, firefighters on Engine 1 identified the fire as a working fire. At the time, flames and smoke were found venting out of a first-floor window in the front of the house. Forcing entry into the unit, they discovered hoarding-like conditions on the first floor of the residence. Crews searched both floors through waist-high piles of debris.
The first-floor tenant, who lived alone, was found dead inside the residence. The second-floor tenant was at work at the time of the fire, the press release reads.
Within approximately 20 minutes, department personnel had the fire controlled. A total of 26 firefighters responded to the scene and worked to mitigate the incident. The Racine Police Department (RPD) assisted with traffic control and the fire investigation.
The fire is currently under investigation. No foul play is suspected. The name of the deceased tenant has not been released pending notification of the family.
The initial damage assessment puts the total loss of the property at $75,000 and the loss of contents at $15,000.
Fire Department reminds public
“The Racine Fire Department would like to remind the public of the danger of hoarding large amounts of items inside your residence. This creates a large safety hazard due to the increased potential fire load inside the residence and creates a clear and present danger to responders attempting to access and search and rescue,” according to the press release. “Also a reminder that working smoke alarms save more lives than firefighters ever will. No smoke alarms were found in the residence.”
High Street fire results in the death of 2 dogs
Following the fire on Feb. 8, the department reported to the 1100 block of High Street for a structure fire in an upper/lower duplex on Feb. 9. All six residents were able to safely exit before the arrival of the RFD.
Engine 2 was first on the scene. Fire and rescue personnel identified a large fire at the rear exterior of the duplex. This crew and others aggressively attacked the fire. Muddy terrain, initial low visibility from smoke, along with steady rain hampered the firefighting effort, the press release reads.
Crews had the fire under control in 80 minutes, according to the press release. There were no sustained injuries to civilians or fire department personnel. Two dogs, however, did not survive the fire.
“An extensive overhaul of the structure’s interior and exterior was required to extinguish the fire,” says the release.
A total of six fire apparatus and two Chiefs, totaling 28 personnel worked to extinguish the fire.
The fire caused $150,000 in structural damage and the loss of contents is estimated at $40,000.
The Racine Police Department, City of Racine Water Department, Racine Fire Bells, and American Red Cross assisted RFD with this fire.
Racine Police & Fire
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