Superior house fire a reminder of unmet needs in Northland during season of giving

By KBJR News 1

Superior house fire a reminder of unmet needs in Northland during season of giving

December 25, 2013 Updated Dec 25, 2013 at 11:33 AM CDT

Superior, WI (NNCNOW.com) - Firefighters responded shortly after seven Tuesday morning to reports of smoke at the rear of a Lackawanna Avenue residence, in Superior.

According to crews on scene, the fire was located inside the exterior wall and attic above the kitchen, and caused $15,000 in damage before being put out.

Battalion Chief Vern Johnson says the family had been using electric space heaters to heat their house while they worked to repair a failed heating system.

"The cause has been determined to be overheated wiring from overloading that system with the electric space heaters," said Chief Johnson inside the Superior station Tuesday.

Chief Johnson says the good news is the family of four was able to make it out with no injuries, and even managed to salvage some presents.

"I understand that they had a few gifts that they were able to grab on the way out, and they were going to be going to be heading to a grandmother's house," said Johnson. "They've had their plans change for Christmas, but they'll still be able to squeeze some kind of Christmas out of it, I think."

The Salvation Army, in Superior, has been notified of the family, and says they're willing to provide anything from immediate food needs, to clothing at their thrift store.

"We're more than willing to make that available to the disaster victims at no charge," said Salvation Army Major David Clark.

Clark says the holiday season is always coupled with an up–tick in need from less fortunate Northlanders, or those struck by sudden disaster.

Clark says the Salvation Army's thrift store, food shelf, and financial services, like buying a can of gas for those struggling to afford the trip to the doctor's office, are working.

But he adds they're falling short on their donation–fueled $200,000 goal, which goes toward operating their services.

"Because of the shortness of the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the cold this year, we're lagging behind where we would like to be," added Clark.

Clark says they're hopeful a last minute push from Northlanders will help them reach their year–end goal, even if it's at the 11th hour.

Battalion Chief Vern Johnson says electric space heater fires are commonly used in winter months, and can be blamed for many fires.

He says avoid overloading your home's electric system by using smaller space heaters spread throughout the home, rather than having one heater do all the work.

Billy Wagness

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