Oshkosh family meets with police officers who helped them escape house fire

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 4:20 PM CDT
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - An Oshkosh family of four is praising first responders after a fire in their home over the weekend. Dramatic body camera footage from the Oshkosh Police Department shows the family’s rescue.

There were hugs, handshakes, and high fives as Doug and Melissa Stadtmueller, along with 12-year-old daughter Chloe and 5-year-old son Oliver, had nothing but praise for a group of Oshkosh police officers. The family met with the team to say thank you.

Body camera footage captured Saturday morning shows officers jumping into action to rescue the family from the roof of their house after a fire broke out.

“You guys are awesome,” says Melissa Stadtmueller.

Her husband, Doug, added, “Above and beyond by miles. I want you guys to know I really do appreciate you saving my family.”

Doug Stadtmueller was out running an errand Saturday morning when the smell of smoke woke up his wife. According to Melissa Stadtmueller, “I left my room, and my entire house was pitch black. I remember screaming ‘Doug! Doug!’ because he’s my husband, and he didn’t answer.”

Daughter Chloe had already gone downstairs to investigate. She says, “I saw a lot smoke, then all of a sudden I turned around and looked a the kitchen and all around - smoke, fire, everywhere. I thought about running out the door, but then I was like, I might not make it and what do I do. So then I just ran upstairs.”

It was upstairs where Melissa Stadtmueller ushered her two kids, along with two of the family’s pets, through a window, out onto the roof at the back of the house. Responding officers found a ladder in the family’s garage and helped Oliver off the roof first, followed by Chloe and finally Melissa.

“We don’t like ladders,” says Melissa Stadtmueller. “I’ve never been on my roof. I never want to go back.”

Two of the family’s pets were safe, but another dog was still inside. Oshkosh firefighters ended up rescuing that pup. It was a true team effort to get everyone and everything out of the house safely.

“The communication, the courage that I saw from our officers and firefighters that day, as well as the family. To have those two kids, a 5-year-old and a 12-year-old, come out to an officer’s arm and be confident that they’re going to be safe was incredible that day,” adds Lt. Brian Schuldes from the Oshkosh Police Department.

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