KENOSHA COUNTY -- Fifteen fire departments were called to the scene of a five-alarm fire on Wilmot Road in Salem in Kenosha County on Wednesday, June 8th. More than 52,000 gallons of water had to be used to bring that fire under control. The building where it happened is a total loss after the blaze.
There are no fire hydrants in the area, so firefighters had to bring water to the scene. Fire officials tell FOX6 News they nearly drained Salem's water tower, and they had to turn to a nearby lake for more water.
"They yelled at me to call 911," Elizabeth Weyrough said.
Weyrough told FOX6 News the fire started at one end of the building used as a transmission shop.
"Within 10 to 15 minutes, fire was bursting out of the front of the shop," Weyrough said.
Weyrough said they did what they could to save the vehicles stored in the attached units or parked nearby -- many of them classic cars.
"It was crazy. We were frantic. We have a lot of vehicles around that building -- so we had to get them away as fast as we could," Wayrough said.
Firefighters from 15 different departments in Wisconsin and Illinois arrived at the scene shortly after 2:30 p.m.
"They're working hard. Back and forth to the lake to put it out," Yvonne Rullmann said.
Water from the lake had to be utilized when the water level in Salem's water tower became alarmingly low. Officials say if it had gotten any lower, the town's water supply would have been threatened.
"It's very scary to look at (the fire) and see it go down and come back up and the flames shooting through the black smoke -- it's very scary," Rullmann said.
That went on for about four hours until this fire was finally brought under control.
The building is a total loss. We're told one firefighter was taken to the hospital for treatment of possible heat exhaustion -- but no one else was hurt.
"It's tragic because that`s a lot peoples' lives right there and it's gone now pretty much," Jon Doane said.
The fire was contained to just the one building -- which we're told has about 10 units.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.