Fire destroys Superior duplex; some pets perish

Three nearby structures sustained only minor exterior damage.

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A ladder truck sprays water from a high angle on to a house fire at 609 Grand Ave. in Superior on Friday night. (Brady Slater /

The Superior Fire Department responded to a house fire at 609 Grand Ave. on Friday, June 26, that appeared to have gutted the duplex.

Sharon Gault watched from a neighbor's deck across the street.

"Smoke was pouring out," she said. "The poor man living there tried to go back in, but they pulled him back."

Battalion Chief Bob Zimmerman said several people tried to re-enter the building to rescue pets, but they were deterred by firefighters and members of the Wisconsin State Patrol. Three dogs and two cats died of smoke inhalation in the blaze; three cats from the downstairs unit survived.

Crews arrived to heavy smoke and fire coming from the rear of the home, a Superior Fire Department news release said.


There were no occupants in the building, and damage was estimated at $70,000. Three people were displaced, Zimmerman said, but the landlord arranged hotel rooms for them.

Alexis Labonte lives two doors down, at 615 Grand Ave. Her mom called her while she was at work as a server to say there was a fire two doors away.

"I came home," Labonte said. "It's pretty scary."

She gave kudos to the firefighters congregated in the street as other firefighters continued to pour water onto the home, including from high above using a ladder truck. Hot spots flared long after the initial blaze, which happened around 7:15 p.m.

"Good job, guys," Labonte said to the firefighters.

Asked why the praise, she pointed to her house: "They kept it from going to the other houses. I live right there."

Labonte's boyfriend took video of the fire that showed it raging on the rear exterior of the building. The fire drew a number of onlookers. Fire crews remained on scene for five hours extinguishing hot spots. Zimmerman said there was minor exterior damage to three nearby structures.

Mayo Ambulance, Wisconsin State Patrol, the Superior Police Department and Superior Water, Light, and Power assisted at the scene


The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Garage fire

The Superior Fire Department responded to a garage fire at 1716 Oakes Ave. at 8:34 p.m. Sunday, June 28. The fire was going strong when crews arrived, according to a release from Battalion Chief Howard Huber, but they extinguished it within minutes. No injuries were reported.

The building was destroyed, with damage estimated at $3,000. There was no damage to surrounding structures or utilities.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Telegram reporter Maria Lockwood contributed to this report.

Brady Slater is a former reporter for the Duluth News Tribune.
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