‘Flames were so high:’ Fire damages 2 buildings on Milwaukee’s east side, 10 displaced

MILWAUKEE -- At least 10 people were displaced by a fire that ripped through two buildings on Milwaukee's east side early Wednesday morning, May 2. Everyone made it out safely thanks to some quick-thinking neighbors.

Firefighters were called out to the area of North and Cambridge around 2:15 a.m.

Upon arrival, firefighters found a two-story duplex completely engulfed in flames. The fire then spread to another duplex next door. At least one of the buildings was deemed a total loss.

Fire near North and Cambridge

"Oh God -- those flames were so high. It was warm. It was hot standing in the alley," said Dick Nelson, witness.

Fire near North and Cambridge

One month after moving into the upper half of the neighboring east side duplex, Annie-Laurie Setten and Drew Haynes were on their way out Wednesday morning, with everything they own stuffed into a garbage bag.

"Got a few pieces of clothes we are hoping to salvage. We got our computer and iPad, and both of his cellphones," said Annie-Laurie Setten.

The fire started next door -- and quickly spread to the couple's duplex. Setten and Haynes, and the couple living below them, were fast asleep.

Fire near North and Cambridge

Fire near North and Cambridge

"We heard some really loud knocking," said Drew Haynes.

Fire near North and Cambridge

A neighbor across the street saw the flames and called 911. They then pounded on their front door.

"One of our neighbors said, 'your house is on fire. You gotta get out. Do you have any pets?' said Haynes.

When firefighters arrived on scene, everyone in both buildings was safely outside. No one was injured.

Officials are still investigating the cause of the fire-- but don't believe it is suspicious.

Fire near North and Cambridge

Fire near North and Cambridge

"It looked like it staged in the back of the building of the original site, but we are not exactly sure where or why at this point," said Deputy Chief David Votsis.

Fire near North and Cambridge

While investigators search for a cause -- Setten and Haynes said they'll be looking for a new place to live. In the meantime, they said they'll be staying just down the block.

"We had other neighbors down the street that we had never met who came over and volunteered their guest room to us," said Setten.

Another neighbor took in the couple in the bottom half of the duplex. They are also staying just down the block.

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