ELM GROVE -- Nearly a dozen fire departments responded to a multiple-alarm house fire on Westover Road near Berkshire Drive in Elm Grove Monday, April 23rd. The fire destroyed a half-million dollar home that was up for sale.
The Elm Grove Fire Department says it received a call from neighbors just before 3:00 a.m. Monday. Authorities say there was a report of an explosion. The fire quickly evolved into a multiple-alarm fire and Elm Grove called for mutual aid from 10 other fire departments.
One problem officials faced during the fire was access to water due to a lack of fire hydrants in the area.
"We roll with water on both of our engines and two tankers. That's all we have available here. Right away, we scheduled water in from our mutual aid departments and it took probably 10 to 12 minutes to get the very first tanker. Once we had one tanker in we had them lined up. We have applied about 50,000 gallons of water so far, " Elm Grove Deputy Fire Chief Bill Hand said.
The home was unoccupied and up for sale. Hand says an offer was accepted and was supposed to be closed on Monday afternoon. The home is said to have been vacant for five months and ironically, the previous owners of the home had been renting it because their old residence had also caught fire.
There were no reports of injuries. Due to the severity of the fire, authorities were unable to search the site Monday morning.
"We don't know if anybody was in the house. We do know there was an accepted offer and we hope that it was vacant, but we don't know that for sure," Hand said.
The home appears to be a total loss.
"My dog started barking and all of a sudden there was a loud sound like a 'whoosh,'" Michael Barney, who lives next door said. "I was tremendously concerned because the trees were burning right next to it and I thought it might fall on my house. It was tremendously hot. There were flames like 40 to 50 feet in the air."
It took nearly an hour to put the fire out. Crews remained on the scene Monday to monitor hot spots. The origin and cause of the fire are under investigation. "There was fire on all four sides of the roof, so determining where the fire started is going to take investigative work," Hand said.