Fire Damages Units in Wisconsin Apt. Complex

MADISON, Wis. --

Firefighters battled a blaze at an apartment complex in the Town of Madison on Friday evening that has left many residents without a home this holiday weekend.

The fire occurred at the complex, which is located in the 2600 block of Country Rose Circle, just off of Deer Valley Road, after 5 p.m.

When firefighters arrived, six units were ablaze in the 30-unit complex and more than 100 residents were evacuated. Firefighters said the blaze was contained to one building.

Two residents were transported to the hospital -- one with a non-life-threatening injury and the other because of a medical emergency, according to the Town of Madison Fire Department.

Now, however, several apartment occupants, including children, won’t have a home to go to this Christmas. But it might have been worse, if it wasn’t for one woman’s quick thinking and action. As the smoke from the fire clears and the damage comes into full view, it is Shannon Anderson’s timing that might have saved lives Friday night.

"It's a real messed up timing," said Anderson. "I started wrapping the last of the presents for Christmas and all of the sudden, I got to smelling something burning.".

When Anderson looked outside her mother’s apartment building, her suspicion was confirmed.

"All you seen (were) big flames coming out the patio," she said.

Before getting her own family out, Anderson called 911.

"I went and pulled the fire alarm and we got knocked on the windows back here and telling people to get out, yelling in the hallway telling them to get out," she said.

Investigators said they believe the blaze started in a bottom unit, quickly spreading up and into the attic.

Three fire departments -- Town of Madison, Monona and Fitchburg -- responded to the fire call.

Jerry Ewert, the assistant fire chief with the Town of Madison department, said that everyone got out safely.

“We've got four affected units and of course smoke damage and water damage so the building's not going to be tenantable this evening," said Ewert.

As fire crews sifted through the ashes looking for hot spots and clues about the fire on Friday night, Anderson said he tried to count her blessings.

"I'm grateful everyone got out and not hurt but it's sad that look at what happened," she said. "It's just horrible."

The Red Cross is helping tenants with food, clothes and shelter.

Authorities said that some residents might be allowed back into their units to gather belongings.

It isn't clear how many residents were displaced or how many have renter's insurance, WISC-TV reported.

Several neighbors are talking about what sparked the blaze, but fire officials said the investigation is just getting underway.

The Town of Madison Fire Department estimated the blaze caused about $375,000.

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