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Total loss: 17 departments respond to fire at home in Menomonee Falls, in bitter cold

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MENOMONEE FALLS -- Firefighters from 17 departments responded to a fire at a home on Ridgeline Trail in Menomonee Falls amid bitterly cold conditions on Wednesday, Jan. 30.

It happened shortly before 11 a.m.

Officials said the fire may have started near a laundry room, and the family was able to escape. They sought shelter with neighbors, and arranged for temporary lodging with relatives. No one was hurt.

There was significant damage to the first and second floors of the home, along with the roof. Due to the extent of the fire, crews were forced to address it from the exterior.

To keep firefighters safe in the dangerous cold, crews were rotated in and out to limit their exposure to the elements. Fire officials noted in bitterly cold conditions, water turns to ice in a short period, which makes the ground hazardous -- and hoses frees and ice forms on clothing and equipment. Additionally, firefighters become susceptible to frostbite, hypothermia and fatigue.

That's why crews from the following 17 departments were called in to help:

  • Butler Fire Department
  • Sussex Fire Department
  • Elm Grove Fire Department
  • Elm Grove EMS
  • Town of Delafield Fire Department
  • Mequon Fire Department
  • North Shore Fire/Rescue
  • Milwaukee Fire Department
  • Wauwatosa Fire Department
  • Lisbon Fire Department
  • City of Brookfield Fire Department
  • Pewaukee Fire Department
  • Town of Brookfield Fire Department
  • Waukesha Fire Department
  • Thiensville Fire Department
  • Germantown Fire Department
  • Richfield Fire Department

The Milwaukee Fire Bells also responded to provide rehab for firefighters. The American Red Cross responded to assist the displaced residents. Waukesha Metro Transit officials responded to provide a warming bus for firefighters.

The house was deemed a complete loss.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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