FRANKLIN - A Franklin family has been displaced from their home after the extreme wind Wednesday, March 8 fanned the flames of a fire at their home in the 7100 block of 51st Street.
The family is now receiving assistance from the Red Cross, as fire damage, smoke damage, and water damage from efforts to put the fire out have made the home unlivable for the time being.
The fire started on a deck between the house and a detached garage Wednesday afternoon, spreading to both structures and even entering the basement of the home.
The Franklin Fire Department (FFD) responded to the call around 3:30 p.m. after a passerby noticed the fire. The homeowner attempted to put out the fire alone right after it started, and therefore had been unable to call 9-1-1.
According to FFD Chief Adam Remington, the wind played a large factor in the scale of the fire, which may have been caused by "smoking materials," such as a disposed cigarette.
"With that wind, just dropping a cigarette with that small ember, the wind will blow it into a fire very quickly," the chief explained.
The wind also made it significantly harder to fight the fire. The FFD, with assistance from departments from Greendale, Greenfield, Oak Creek, and a New Berlin paramedic unit, spent around two hours fighting the fire.
"(The wind) pushed fire to places it probably wouldn't normally have gone," said Remington. The fire spread from the deck to the walls of the garage, the home, and even into the basement, through windows underneath the deck.
Though no official estimates are yet available, the chief estimated the damage to cost around $50,000 to $60,000.
While these damages do not qualify as a total loss, the combination of damage to the structure, smoke damage, and the fact that electricity and gas were disconnected from the home—protocol anytime the FFD fights a structure fire—make the home unlivable for the time being.
Disaster Action Team volunteers from the Red Cross have met with the family members about recovery from disasters like this, and financial assistance for temporary housing, food, and clothing has been provided to the family.
In addition to this house fire, the FFD was busy with calls on the windy Wednesday, responding to just under 20 calls that day, including a garage fire started by cooking utensils discarded too soon after use.
"There were wires coming down everywhere, tree limbs coming down, and power going in and out causing fire alarms to go out in buildings," said Remington.