Ashland Officials Investigate a Fatal House Fire

By KBJR News 1

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May 13, 2013 Updated Nov 14, 2013 at 1:19 PM CDT

Ashland, WI (NNCNOW.com) --- An Ashland house fire that resulted in the death of one, is currently being investigated.

The Ashland fire dept arrived at 15th Ave West at 5:30 Sunday morning. They soon realized putting out the flames would be an uphill battle.

"The first floor of the structure was about 75 – 80 percent involved at that point with fire," says captain Scott Thimm of the Ashland Fire Dept.

To further complicate things, a nearby fire hydrant would not function and a neighbor informed the fire dept there may still be someone inside the burning house.

"There was a citizen that was here reporting that he believed there were still people inside we had vehicles out front and out back of the house," says Thimm.

The fire dept attempted to rescue the victim by raising a ladder to a back window on the second floor. The window was broken for access but the smoke and flames were overpowering.

"My acting Lieutenant got about halfway in the window and was driven back due to the extreme heat. At that point it became a defensive operation for us due to all of the fire that was shown," Thimm adds.

Paula Emler, a neighboring resident, gives her account on the devastating fire that claimed one life Sunday morning.

"I had friends call from over in Washburn because they because they were ocncerned that we were the ones on fire because it was such a close address...And they i came out side and said holy cow. So it was later in the evening when all the truck had gone that i took pictures. You can see it's massively charred even under the eves and the whole house it looks like it was an explosion of some kind, it was coming out both ends."

The body has yet to be indentified is undergoing an autopsy.
Emler says she did not know the owner personally, but has seen them owner on several occasions.

"I didn't know them personally but one of the teachers i work with she knows them well and what she said is the young lady that owns the house was out shopping for bridesmaid dresses so it's really a huge tragedy and the young man that was in the house I'm guessing was her fiance."

The Ashland fire department is working in conjunction with two special agents from the state Fire Marshal Dept. in the investigation.

Authorities have determined that the origin of the fire was in the kitchen, however the cause has still not been determined. The name of the deceased will not be released until authorities get a positive identification and relatives are notified.

Officials say this in an active investigation and they do not know if there was any foul play at this time.

Posted to the web by Gabrielle Ware
posted by gware@kbjr.com

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