At 12:50 a.m. Wednesday morning, the Lincoln County Dispatch Center dispatched the Merrill Fire Department for the report of a house fire at 706 E. 7th St. The initial response to the scene included Engine 2, Ladder 1 and Medic 1. Upon arrival the Shift Commander assumed command and reported heavy smoke pushing from the northeast side of the fire and heavy fire pushing on the northwest side of the building.
The temperature was 7 degrees with a wind chill of -6 degrees at the time of the fire. The fire was being wind driven with winds from the northwest at 10 mph.
Command ordered the first arriving engine company to deploy an aggressive interior attack with a pre-connect hose line from the unburned side of the structure. When the companies made entry into the house they were pushed back out of the building by the conditions inside. On scene companies and off duty companies set up an exterior defensive attack which brought the fire under control and eventually extinguished the blaze.
All three of the occupants were sleeping at the time the fire started. The 58 year old male resident of the house reported he was awakened by the activated smoke detector. He opened his bedroom door and was met by heavy smoke in the kitchen area. He crawled to the other two bedrooms and woke the other two occupants. All three of the occupants were able to get our safely prior to the arrival of the fire department.
“Approximately two-thirds of home fire deaths occur in homes without working smoke alarms,” said Merrill Fire Chief Dave Savone. “Since most fatal fires occur at night, it’s essential that every home has working smoke alarms to provide an early warning. Working smoke alarms increase the chance of surviving a home fire by 50 percent. Check your battery and detector today, it might save your life tonight.”
The Merrill Fire Department was assisted with station manning (change of quarters) by the Pine River Volunteer Fire Department and Tomahawk Ambulance. Traffic control was provided by the Merrill Police Department and Street Department.
The damage to the house is approximately $40,000 plus about $15,000 damage to the contents. There are no reported injuries to citizens or firefighters. The cause of the fire is under investigation at this time.