At approximately 8:15 on Thursday night, May 7, the Fitchburg Fire Department was paged to the report of a structure fire on the 3100 block of S Seminole Highway in the City of Fitchburg. Neighbors and witnesses calling 911 reported seeing flames and smoke, possibly coming from a garage unit located on the ground level of a multi-residential building.
While en-route, heavy smoke was visible by Fitchburg Engine 2 and the officer quickly contacted the Dane County Communications Center (911) and requested a Box Alarm through the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS). Activating MABAS brings resources and personnel from surrounding departments to provide assistance during an emergency incident, such as a structure fire, or to staff a local station to respond to subsequent calls that come in while the local resources are active at a larger incident.
First arriving Fitchburg units confirmed both heavy flames and smoke coming from an attached garage and extending into the 2nd floor of the building. Crews were able to quickly begin extinguishment of the fire. It took firefighters less than 30 minutes to fully extinguish the fire and command was able to start returning units from neighboring departments.
The effected building is a side-by-side two-unit apartment building. The unit of origin has heavy fire and smoke damage and the neighboring unit has smoke damage. Both residents of the building were able to safely evacuate prior to the fire department’s arrival. The American Red Cross has been put in contact with the occupants to provide assistance as needed.
The cause of the fire is not known at this time and is currently under investigation by the Fitchburg Fire Department. Damages are estimated to be in excess of $200,000.
No injuries were reported. Automatic and mutual aid was provided by the Fitchburg Police Department, FitchRona EMS, Verona Fire Department, Oregon Fire & EMS, City of Madison Fire Department, Town of Madison Fire Department, and McFarland Fire Department.
With people spending significantly more time in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic, the State of Wisconsin has been seeing an increase in the number of residential structure fires. The Fitchburg Fire Department wants to remind everyone to be extra vigilant in the home. It is important to never leave an active stovetop or lit candle unattended. As we head into the next few nights with freeze warnings in the forecast, be sure to allow plenty of extra space around space heaters and never use a gas-powered generator inside of your house or enclosed garage.