Man sustains burns, property lost in house fire

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Members of the Prairie du Chien Fire Department hustle to combat a house fire on the 500 block of Wacouta Avenue Tuesday afternoon. The home was a complete loss. One tenant suffered third-degree burns, though he and his daughter escaped. (Photo by Correne Martin)

Prairie du Chien firefighter Derrick Eastman was busy pumping water at the scene of Tuesday’s house fire, and the next minute, he was suited up heading into the house to battle the flames. (Photo by Correne Martin)

Photo from Prairie du Chien Police Department

Photo from Prairie du Chien Police Department

By Correne Martin


A rental home on the 500 block of Wacouta Avenue is a complete loss after a house fire Tuesday afternoon, according to the Prairie du Chien Fire Department. One tenant and his 5-year-old daughter escaped, though the man sustained third-degree burns from re-entering to try to rescue his pets, authorities said. The man was transferred to a burn center in Madison.

At about 2 p.m., the fire department was dispatched to the scene of the rental, owned by Blake Sparks, of Prairie du Chien. There were four tenants of the home, though only two were inside at the time of the fire, Fire Chief Tad Beutin said. 

It took most of the department longer to get to the scene, as they were divided from the west side of town by a passing train, he noted.

Beutin explained that the fire started in the basement: “It took the basement steps out, and we could not get to the basement, or under the floor, to fight the (source of the) fire.”

He added that, because the main floor of the house was compromised so quickly, the firemen had to fight from a defensive attack.

Bridgeport Fire was called in for mutual aid, basically for manpower, and Beutin said they were a tremendous help. 

“It was a tough fire to fight,” he said. “It was 10 degrees out, so we had to keep our water running to keep it from freezing. That made things icy and slippery on already deep snow.”

Beutin shared that the firemen were able to protect the neighboring homes from any fire damage, and none of the firefighters were injured. Kwik Trip donated coffee, hot chocolate and doughnuts for the volunteers.

Prairie du Chien Fire was on scene until 11 p.m. Ultimately, they had to get a backhoe on site to push in the entire structure. 

He added, the home was valued at about $110,000 and was a total loss.

After talking to the owner, Beutin said there were some space heaters in the basement, yet they were believed to be off at the time of the fire.  The cause will remain uncertain. 

“We won’t be able to investigate because of the amount of damage,” he said.

According to Beutin, though the tenant rescued one of his three dogs immediately after the fire, two of them and a cat remain missing.

In addition to the Prairie du Chien and Bridgeport fire departments, the Prairie du Chien Police Department, Tri-State Ambulance and local utilities assisted on the scene.

A Go Fund Me page has been started for the family that was renting the home. On the site, search “Help Lou and his family after house fire” if interested in assisting.

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