Oct. 18--A fire alarm played a crucial role in getting a Poplar business owner to safety when a fire broke out Tuesday night.
Jessica Tapani was tanning at Tiger Tanning Salon & Spa, 4976 S. County Road P, when the fire began. She heard the fire alarm, opened the door to the beauty salon and saw thick black smoke.
"It saved her life," said Tapani's mother, Claudia Porter. Tapani was able to dial 911 and get out of the building.
Help was half a mile away. The fire broke out in the middle of the Poplar Volunteer Fire Department's monthly meeting and training session. Eleven members were in the village fire hall getting ready to test out the pumper truck, which had just undergone some repairs.
"We got the call at 7:13 p.m.," said Brad Nelson, first assistant chief. "It took us four minutes to get there." Volunteer firefighters from Maple, Amnicon and Lakeside also responded to the blaze. They cleared the scene an hour and a half later. The newly repaired pumper worked well, Nelson said.
The cause of the blaze was an electrical appliance, according to Nelson.
A Douglas County Sheriff's Office report indicated the fire started near a manicure station. No damage estimate was available. While the building is still structurally sound, Porter said, the inside of the salon was gutted. The tanning room and the office for Northland Weight Loss; however, were not as badly damaged.
Tiger Tanning opened its doors in February; Northland Weight Loss started in March. Now, fire has shut their doors.
"I don't know when we'll re-open," Porter said. Clients can keep track of the businesses through their Facebook page "Tiger Tanning Salon & Spa."
In the light of day Wednesday, Porter was shaken by the amount of damage that was done to the building.
Porter and Nelson stressed the importance of fire alarms and making sure they are working.
"The building can be saved; objects can be replaced," Porter said, but people can't.
Anyone interested in supporting the Poplar Volunteer Fire Department can stop by its fourth annual pancake breakfast 7-11 a.m. Nov. 2 at Peace Lutheran Church on U.S. Highway 2. The cost is $6 for ages 13 and older, $4 for children ages 6-12 and kids younger than 5 eat free.
To get involved, contact a firefighter or call the Be Somebody hotline at 888-926-1676.
Copyright 2013 - Superior Telegram, Wis.