Series of fires keeps volunteer firefighters movingVolunteer firefighters from the town of Superior got a workout Wednesday when they tackled three wildfires and a structure fire within the span of five hours.
Volunteer firefighters from the town of Superior got a workout Wednesday when they tackled three wildfires and a structure fire within the span of five hours.
With the help of volunteer firefighters from Oakland, Summit and Parkland and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, all fires were doused and no injuries were reported.
“We’re tired today,” said town of Superior Fire Chief Brian Laverdiere on Thursday.
The first call came in at 11 a.m. for a wildland fire along the railroad tracks on County Highway C west of State Highway 35. Sparks from a grinder on the tracks are suspected of starting a series of seven separate small fires from the original site to the Minnesota border, Laverdiere said.
Half an hour after finishing the wildland fire call, the structure fire at 3363 Ames Road was reported.
The home owner noticed smoke while working outside, according to Darryl Fiegle, assistant fire chief for the town of Superior. When he attempted to enter the residence, heavy smoke began pouring out the door.
Laverdiere said that by opening the door, the owner caused a “flashover,” a situation where the rush of oxygen into a heated room causes everything to ignite at once.
The home owner was lucky, said the fire chief, “the flashover could have killed him.”
Two cats were able to escape the fire, but the some fish and the contents of the home were lost. A damage estimate was not available as of press time and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Firefighters remained on the scene for four hours.
Fiegle said that hot weather and a lack of manpower hampered the fight. As firefighters were battling the structure fire, two more wildland fires were reported – another on County Highway C west of 35 and one along Highway A by Koppers Inc. that Laverdiere said was started by a resident cutting metal with a torch. Volunteer firefighters from Parkland assisted with the structure; firefighters from Summit, Oakland and the DNR also responded to the wildland fires. But town of Superior personnel were stretched thin, Laverdiere said.
The home fire displaced two adults, who are currently receiving a helping hand from the Northland Chapter of the American Red Cross.
“It’s been very difficult for this family,” said Tony Guerra, Northland American Red Cross Emergency Services Director. “Everything that these folks owned has been destroyed.
“We’re here to give a hand to this family, for the next couple of days they won’t have to think about the basic necessities of food, shelter and clothing,” Guerra said.