Oshkosh apartment fire forces evacuation, 14 people left affected

Sprinklers put the fire out but 100 people were evacuated for a few hours and 14 couldn't go back home.
Published: Aug. 12, 2022 at 9:33 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 12, 2022 at 7:31 PM CDT
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - A fire at a 14-story Oshkosh apartment building forced an evacuation late Thursday night and left 14 people out of their homes.

The Oshkosh Fire Department says it responded to Court Tower downtown at 10 P.M. and found the sprinkler system extinguished a small fire on the 9th floor.

It wasn’t a big fire, but 100 people had to be evacuated.

”The Court Tower apartments is a very kind of signature apartment complex if you’ve ever been through Oshkosh, and more than a hundred folks were potentially displaced,” Justin Kern of the Red Cross said.

No one was hurt, but sprinklers caused extensive water damage to the 9th floor and the floor below it. Residents were asked to stay out while the fire department evaluated the building and took care of hotspots.

“Some of the effects from the water damage and from the electricity being out are some of the things that kind of make for more protected recoveries, or getting people back in,” Kern explained.

The American Red Cross says members arrived at the scene just after midnight to help.

“People were waiting kind of across the street there at the fire station. Our teams got en route with our sheltering supplies and got some things set up,” said Kern.

Thanks to volunteers, they were able to open an emergency shelter in a nearby church to provide food and a place to sleep. Busing was provided by the county to get residents to the shelter.

Fourteen people from 10 damaged apartments were displaced. The fire department says most of them stayed at that shelter for the night.

“Thankfully we got the thumbs up where a lot of them were able to return, but this is what our teams trained for. It’s the same kind of training that they’re putting into use down in Kentucky, out in California for those large-scale disasters and, and just know that, our awesome disaster volunteers in Northeast Wisconsin have those same skills and can help people no matter what their need is,” Kern said.

What started the fire is under investigation.

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