Firefighters battle flames, heat at house fire in Fremont

Firefighters are working to extinguish a house fire in Fremont.
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 10:20 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 1, 2023 at 5:20 AM CDT
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FREMONT, Wis. (WBAY) - Fourteen fire departments and about 75 firefighters spent 5-and-a-half hours extinguish a house fire in Fremont.

The fire started around 7 a.m. Wednesday, according to the family who lives at the house. The family said two parents and two kids and their dogs were able to evacuate, although one woman injured her foot while running out of the home.

Action 2 News spoke with Fremont-Wolf River Fire Chief Shorty Miller, who said the start of the fire is still undetermined, but fire officials believe it started in the garage. Crews had to demolish the garage to reach the fire as it spread to the home and attic.

Due to the heat, Miller said firefighters are only spending 15 minutes at a time inside and paramedics are present on the scene for heat- and smoke-related issues. Firefighters are being sprayed down with water when exiting and being examined by EMS.

“We had to change them out with new recruits to go in and fight the fire. That’s why we ended up with 14 different fire departments out here today so that we had enough manpower to switch them out,” Chief Miller said.

People on the scene said the historic home is over a century old and was formerly a tavern and gas station, then converted to a cheese factory, and eventually turned into a home. All of the renovations over the years made it more difficult to fight the fire.

“The biggest problem with these old buildings, being that it was remodeled, there was actually seven floors in this building and a lot of different compartments in it, so fire gets in there, so it makes it really challenging to put them out when they’re like that,” Chief Miller said.

Even getting water on the fire proved to be a challenge. Miller said there are no hydrants in the rural area, and their trucks couldn’t haul more water to the scene fast enough.

“The building is going to be a total loss,” the fire chief added. “They’re going to be able to save some of the stuff that’s inside but the building itself will be a loss.”

We’re told the late grandfather of the kids living here was the person who converted it into a home, making the loss even harder. We saw a 15-year-old son with two guitars that were not damaged, and we were told they were made by his grandfather and that the two shared a love of music.

A Fremont firefighter is hosed down to cool off while fighting a house fire with daytime...
A Fremont firefighter is hosed down to cool off while fighting a house fire with daytime temperatures in the 80s(WBAY)