Family talks about devastating Fond du Lac County house fire

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FOND DU LAC COUNTY, Wis. (WBAY) -- A family is without a home after a New Year's Eve fire destroyed their residence near Campbellsport.

The Fond du Lac County Sheriff's Office says crews responded to W2949 Woodland Drive in the Town of Ashford around 8:50 a.m. Sunday.

Home owner John Bischoff had just refilled the woodburner before returning upstairs to wake his girlfriend, Heather Meyer, for work when they noticed the fire.

According to Meyer, "We smelled something and went running downstairs to see what it was and by that point, the entire wall behind the fireplace was already on fire."

Bischoff and Meyer got their two dogs and cat out of the house and tried to put out the flames, but the fire was too much.

"Once the smoke got too bad, we got out of there. And two hours later, nothing," says Meyer.

More than a dozen fire departments and close to a hundred firefighters responded to the scene, but frigid cold temperatures and windy conditions led to equipment failures -- leaving crews virtually powerless against the flames.

Craig Olson is the Chief of the Campbellsport Fire Department. He said, "Certainly as we were struggling yesterday with the effects of the cold weather it was somewhat of a helpless feeling as we were trying to cope and adapt and come to other objectives to suppress the fire."

While the victims say there isn't much, if anything to salvage from the home, they are simply thankful to have survived the ordeal.

Meyer adds, "We can't look at this any way but to just start over, start fresh and start the new year with new memories."

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