Four dead in Oconto house fire

By  | 

OCONTO, Wis. (WBAY) - Four people were found dead after a house fire in Oconto Friday morning.

The fire call came in shortly before 3 a.m. on Fabry St.

Oconto Fire Chief John Reed said his department arrived on scene early Friday morning to find the home engulfed in flames. Due to the instability of the structure, crews were not able to go inside until several hours later.

"Identification of the victims and notification of the next-of-kin is pending," reads a statement from the Oconto Fire Department.

A family pet was also found dead.

The Oconto Unified School District released a statement saying "hearts and thoughts" are with those impacted by the fire.

The district refers to the fire as "a tragic incident that has occurred within the community."

"Our hearts and thoughts are with those impacted. At this point in time, we are communicating with local authorities and have enacted our crisis protocol. Counselors are available in the school offices as students need. We will continue to communicate a broader plan as more information is available."

Officials say Oconto County Human Services will be available for emergency services, and can be reached at 920-834-7000.

In addition, officials say counselors were available in each school's office on Friday.

Police add there will also be additional emergency counseling services at Oconto High School on Saturday, January 18, from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m., 3-5 p.m., and 6-8 p.m.

Police and firefighters spent the morning going through what's left of the home.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice Division of Criminal Investigation is assisting local officials with the investigation.

"The roof on the one story part is already collapsed," Chief Reed told us during the fire fight.

"The challenge was the fire was so hot that we couldn't send anybody at that time," says Reed.

The chief told Action 2 News the ceiling of the home was sagging. At one point early Friday afternoon, an excavator was brought in to take material off of the roof.

Aisha Morales first alerted you to the fire on Action 2 News This Morning. She witnessed heavy smoke pouring out of the home.

An Action 2 News viewer sent us video showing flames engulfing the home.

Crews battled the fire in frigid conditions. The National Weather Service said Oconto hit -7 degrees Friday morning.

We still don't know what caused the fire.

Neighbors are calling it a tragedy. Many didn't want to talk on-camera but got emotional telling our Mackenzie Amundsen stories about the family who lived in the house.

Action 2 News will be at the scene throughout the day and update this developing story.