Third child, Benjamin Martin, passes away after house fire in Sheboygan Falls

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SHEBOYGAN FALLS -- FOX6 News learned on Thursday, January 28th a third child has died following a house fire in Sheboygan Falls that happened on Tuesday night, January 26th.

Ten-year-old Benjamin Martin was in critical condition following the fire.

FOX6 News learned from family that he passed away on Thursday, and that was confirmed by the Milwaukee County Medical Examiner's Office.

Benjamin Martin passed away at Children's Hospital.

Maki Family (GoFundMe page)

Maki Family (GoFundMe page)

Officials said on Wednesday two children had died following the fire -- 11-year-old Natalie Martin and seven-year-old Carter Maki.

Firefighters were called out to the home near 5th and Western Avenue around 9:00 p.m.

When crews arrived on scene, they made contact with a nine-year-old child (Jenna) who was able to escape the home safely after being alerted by an 11-year-old sibling (Natalie).

Authorities say Natalie Martin then re-entered the home in an attempted to locate two other children -- Benjamin and Carter.

Sheboygan Falls house fire

Firefighters found heavy smoke pouring from the structure. They entered the home while attacking the fire -- and then, with the help of thermal imaging cameras, located all three children in an upstairs room.

The seven-year-old, Carter Maki, died at St. Nicholas Hospital. The two other children (Natalie and Benjamin Martin) were airlifted to Children's Hospital -- where they later died.

On Wednesday afternoon, Sheboygan Falls police released the names of the victims:

  • 11-year-old Natalie Martin (passed away on Wednesday morning)
  • Seven-year-old Carter Maki (passed away on Tuesday night)
  • 10-year-old Benjamin Martin (passed away on Wednesday evening)

Nine-year-old Jenna Martin was able to get out of the home safely.

Fatal house fire in Sheboygan Falls

Fatal house fire in Sheboygan Falls

Ryan Passini is an uncle of the children.

"The nine-year-old girl was told to get out, by Natalie, who's the oldest, to get out -- and then (Natalie) ran back in to try to get the rest of them out," said Passini.

Passini said nine-year-old Jenna was safe because Natalie was caring for her siblings while their parents, Chris and Kristi Maki, attended a Tuesday night church group meeting.

"Last night, the father was showing Jenna, you know, the one that's okay, they were showing the Go Fund Me page, and they were overwhelmed with emotion, you know? Because all these people -- they say, 'We don't know who they are, but they love us!' You know? And that -- it says a lot," Passini said.

Passini said Jenna is doing okay.

"As good as someone could hope, I suppose," Passini said.

Passini said the family thanks all those who are making efforts to help.

"How do you go forward, from this? How do you lose half your family, and go forward?" ~Ryan Passini

"How do you go forward, from this? How do you lose half your family, and go forward?" asked Passini.

A Go Fund Me account has been created by family members of the victims. Thousands of dollars have been raised. CLICK HERE if you are interested in pitching in.

Vigil for victims of house fire in Sheboygan Falls

Vigil for victims of house fire in Sheboygan Falls

Members of Crossroads Community Church in Sheboygan gathered on Wednesday night to pray for the family. The family attends the church.

"There are no words to describe it. They are just numb. Completely beside themselves," Passini said of Chris and Kristi Maki.

Passini called the more than $50,000 raised for the family in just one day "amazing." As of Thursday afternoon, more than $85,000 had been raised.

"I think it speaks volumes to the character of people," Passini said.

Steven Riffel, director of public safety for Sheboygan Falls Police and Fire Departments said Wednesday he wanted to express deep sympathies to the family and neighbors in this instance.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with them in this most difficult time," Riffel said.

The State Fire Marshal is now investigating the cause of the house fire. There has been no determination of the cause at this point. Officials said it's too early to speculate.

Officials did say there were active smoke detectors in the home.


Google Map for coordinates 43.729358 by -87.821644.


  • Tony

    My heart goes out to them… I couldn’t imagine losing three children, let alone from the same event. And that 11 year old is a hero. I know 40 year old men that wouldn’t race back into a burning building to save their own kids…

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  • Anonymous

    I feel for the family but why was an 11 year old in charge? Isn’t it illegal to leave a child under the age of 13 to babysit?

    • guest89

      At 12 I was babysitting my two younger siblings, and our NEWBORN brother, while our parents bowled on Saturday nights. I think an 11 yr old is more than responsible enough to watch seven to 10 yr old siblings. That beautiful girl was responsible enough to get her sister out of the house AND went back for her brothers. She’s a hero in my book.

      • Kay

        I agree. I was babysitting by that age too. This girl was a hero and punishing her parents after losing the siblings she tried to save would only cause more pain for her. It’s not like the mom and Dad were out partying. They were at a church meeting! This was just a tragedy, it had nothing to do with negligence.

    • Anonymous

      You can babysit siblings at age 11, as long as they are mature. This 11 year old sounds very mature if she was going in a fire to save her siblings.

  • Kevin

    Is now really the time to be pointing fingers? These people just lost over half of their family and everything they own. Why not have some sympathy instead of trying to sound all big. If anyone is an idiot here it’s you. You’re a heartless moron

    • shellyrowland28

      I agree with you Kevin. These people need to stop judging the parents so harshly. An 11 year old is more than capable of caring for younger siblings for a few hours on a school night while their parents attend church. That little girl ran back into a burning house to save the rest of her family so that right there SHOULD tell you that she had nothing but the safety of her younger siblings in mind!!! This was a tragedy, plain and simple. It was gonna happen whether the parents were there or not and IF they had been there, she could’ve lost them too and then where would she be?

  • Lori Weinhold

    Please you people need to stop judging the parents and have empathy for Gods sake! Don’t say anything if you just want to judge people you don’t even know. It is down right sickening hearing your awful remarks. God bless these children and their parents. My heart aches for them.

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