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Red Cross assists family of 8 displaced by West Allis duplex fire

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WEST ALLIS -- A family of eight was displaced by a fire in West Allis early Monday morning, Jan. 21.

According to officials, five children, three adults and two dogs were on the first floor of a duplex near 64th and National when the fire began. All were able to get out safely with no injuries reported.

West Allis Battalion Chief Dan Ledvorowski said the fire started in the kitchen on the second floor when nobody was home. Ledvorowski said this fire was a good reminder to use precautions in the kitchen.

"Just watch what you’re cooking," said Chief Ledvorowski. "Usually, kitchen fires are the number one cause of fires, at least in our city, but just be careful what you’re doing. Heat your house with the appropriate methods."

With temperatures in the single digits, firefighters needed a strategy that kept them safe, from both the flames and the bitter cold.

"You have to rotate crews in and out," said Chief Ledvorowski. "When you're inside, it's not so bad -- but when you’re outside and standing around, you get a little cold. Ice forms and it can get slippery, so keeping crews rotated -- that’s the key."

Red Cross volunteers helped comfort the family, and made sure they had somewhere to stay.

"It's very traumatic. It's very scary," said Red Cross volunteer Robert Garrett. "The children are doing the best that they can in the situation."

While there was little visible damage from the outside, the home would remain uninhabitable for some time, officials said.

"The real need is always some comfort and hope," said Red Cross volunteer Bill Satterlee. "Red Cross is just great at providing that."

Chief Ledvorowski said this case also served as a good reminder to make sure you have shoveled around any fire hydrants. Luckily, firefighters did not have issues accessing them while trying to battle the West Allis flames.

Firefighters did have to go back to the scene on Monday afternoon due to some smoldering in the upper unit. Crews put out the hot spots.

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