One Year Later: Family still rebuilding home after historic Germann Road Fire

By KBJR News 1

May 13, 2014 Updated May 13, 2014 at 10:21 PM CDT

Barnes, Wis. (NNCNOW.com) -- One year has passed since the historic Germann Road fire ripped through more than 7,500 acres of land in Bayfield and Douglas counties in Northwest Wisconsin.

The fire destroyed 47 structures, including 17 homes forcing people to rebuild their lives.

On April 22, 2013 Deanna Glinski and her husband signed the papers on their new home in Barnes, Wisconsin.

Less than a month later on May 14, their new house was destroyed in one of the worst wild fires in Wisconsin's history.

"We actually found the house, put an offer on it and did all the paper work in three weeks, and three weeks later it was gone," said Glinski.

She first saw the flames on her way home from Duluth. When she got to the house she quickly packed up some clothes for her four children, important documents like birth certificates, and called her husband to tell him to get a hotel in Hayward.

As Captain for the Barnes Volunteer Fire Department, she rushed to go battle the flames that took her house.

"We headed down George lake road and I saw a spot fire and at that time I knew this was going to be big," said Glinski.

While she was busy trying to get others to safety, another firefighter told her the fate of her new home.

"I really didn't have time to process the information because I was in the mode of doing my job and that sort of thing. It was like, 'ok I understand it's gone, now where am I going next?' because there is nothing I can do for something that is burnt down, gone."

DNR officials say the difference between some homes being lost and others being saved was how well kept the property around the house was kept.

"If they had the minimum of 30 some feet of what we call defence-able space; green yard without a lot of problems, things that could catch on fire, most of those structures, even though they may have been damaged a bit, basically survived and didn't burn down," said Jay Gallahger, Lake Superior Area Forestry Supervisor for the Wisconsin DNR.

Two trees growing next to Glinski's house fed the flames that ultimately destroyed her dream home forcing her and her family to start over.

"It's very stressful as anyone who has built a home would know."

Glinski says they they had to wait to build the new home until October and ran into many issues during the building process. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel as her new home nears completion.

"I will be in this house by the end of this month, I have decided," says Glinski.

The fire was started when debris from a cutting machine, from Ray Duerr Logging Company, ignited inside the machine's circulating blade.

The Wisconsin DNR has fined the company more than $600,000 for what they are calling negligence.

40 area fire departments and numerous state agencies helped battle the flames and provide assistance to those who lost homes one year ago.

Posted to the web by Kati Anderson.