Fire destroys Oconto home

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Area departments help with personnel, equipment

Times Herald Staff

Firefighters from Oconto and several other area departments battle fire and ice at 1018 Gale St. for about four hours Feb. 26. They were called back for three hours starting at 2:15 a.m. when the fire rekindled. (Photo courtesy of Oconto Fire and Rescue Department)

A family got out safely, but their house was a total loss after a Feb. 26 fire in the city of Oconto.

Deputy Fire Chief Josh Bostedt said the Oconto Fire and Rescue Department was dispatched at 7:06 p.m. to 1018 Gale St., in the City of Oconto for a report of a fully involved structure fire. This single-family residence is owned by Bert and Lynn Hollander.

The two-story home was fully engulfed with smoke and fire when firefighters arrived, Bostedt said.

“Due to the rapidly deteriorating structural integrity and the amount of fire load within the interior, fire personnel were unable to enter the structure,” he said. “The decision of a defensive fire attack was chosen, and crews were positioned on all sides of the structure to contain and extinguish the fire.”

Crews had to battle extreme cold and ice conditions in addition to the fire, and neighboring fire departments were called in to help contain the blaze and provide extra manpower to keep firefighters safe under those conditions.

Wisconsin Public Service was contacted to disconnect the electrical supply to the residence. The Oconto City Street Department was also contacted to help with water drainage into the storm sewer and provided salt to help with the icy roadway. Fire crews were on scene approximately four hours.

Four engines, one ladder truck, three support vehicles, three ambulances, two water tenders, one command truck and approximately 42 firefighters from the area responded — including personnel from Oconto Falls Fire, Little River Fire, Pensaukee Fire and a Pensaukee First Responder. Oconto City Police Department assisted with traffic control. The Oconto Fire Department Blazin Booster Club responded with food, water and hot beverages.

The fire remains under investigation. The approximate 1,200-square-foot residence sustained heavy fire and water damage, and the house and contents are considered a total loss, Bostedt said. No firefighter or civilian injuries were reported.

Fire crews were paged out at 2:15 a.m. for a rekindle. The Oconto department responded with two engines, one ladder truck, one ambulance, one rescue truck, one command truck and 13 personnel. Fire crews were on scene approximately three hours.