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RACINE – On Friday, Feb. 25, the Racine Fire Department (RFD) received a call at 10:43 p.m. reporting a fire at The Maples, a 16-unit apartment building located at 2300/2306 Anthony Lane.

Three fire engines, two ladder trucks, a paramedic rescue squad, battalion chief, safety officer, and a total of 21 firefighters were first to respond. Upon arrival, the companies were met with “heavy smoke and fire conditions in the basement that were rapidly spreading to the first and second floors,” according to an RFD news release.

Conditions become problematic

Icy and slippery conditions made the victim search “very challenging,” causing minor slip/trip injuries to five Racine firefighters. The temperature, at seven degrees Fahrenheit, was also a factor that challenged the rescue efforts.

Fire Command made the call to evacuate the building at 50 minutes into the effort as structural stability became a concern. Fire had eaten a hole into the floor of an apartment on the first floor. At that point, defensive operations continued into the early morning hours.

The roof was also reported to have partially collapsed as a result of the fire damage.

Requests were sent out to Caledonia, Oak Creek and South Shore Fire Departments through a Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS) as well as utilizing an emergency recall of all off-duty Racine firefighters to aid with on-scene resources in addition to staffing the empty fire stations.

Smoke can be seen from across the Horlick High School athletic field at just about midnight. – Credit: Michelle Schimian

The blaze continues into the early morning

The Racine Police Department was on-scene for traffic control and sheltered the displaced tenants at the Anthony Lane COP House. The Red Cross also assisted tenants who were in need of shelter.

Utilities were secured by We Energies. Water main pressure had been reduced by the fire suppression efforts as multiple companies were battling the blaze; Racine Water Utility gave assistance by supporting the pressure of the water main.

Current findings

No civilians were injured in the fire. One lost dog has been reported. Information can be found through Billy’s Posse, Inc., a lost dog search and recovery team for Southeast Wisconsin.

Damages were estimated at a total of $633,000:

Structure, a total loss: $433,000

Contents: $200,000

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


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