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RACINE – Two multi-family apartment buildings were damaged by separate deck fires within a few hours of each other on Wednesday, according to the Racine Fire Department (RFD). No one was injured.

Erie Street deck fire

Firefighters responded to the first deck fire on an upper unit wooden entrance of an apartment building on the 1300 block of Erie Street at about 4 p.m. The fire was quickly extinguished and did not spread to the living area. The fire caused an estimated $2,000 in damage to the deck area. The cause remains under investigation.

Howland Avenue deck fires

The second fire, at a three-family apartment building in the 200 block of Howland Avenue, was reported at about 7 p.m. The first arriving crews found the building’s front exterior first and second-floor landings on fire. Although firefighters were able to bring the blaze under control before it spread to the interior of the structure, the building was deemed uninhabitable because of fire, smoke and water damage. The Red Cross assisted 10 displaced residents with temporary housing.

The Howland Avenue fire also melted exterior siding from an adjacent building. The fire caused an estimated $60,000 damage to the apartment building and an additional $30,000 damage to the adjacent structure. The cause is under investigation.

Fire safety

The RPD reminds residents that outside household refuse or yard waste placed on or near decks can create fire hazards and block emergency escape routes. Always dispose of refuse well away from structures. In addition, outdoor grills are not allowed on or underneath decks or within 10 feet of structures.

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Paul Holley is retired from careers in journalism, public relations and marketing but not from life. These days, he pretty much writes about what he feels like writing. You may contact him directly at:...