MILWAUKEE -- A fast-moving fire ripped through a south side garage and damaged a nearby home on Friday, July 26. Firefighters were dispatched to the neighborhood just southwest of 13th and Grange.
The fire required help from nearby departments. By the time firefighters got there, they say some of their own already jumped into action.
"I've never seen anything like this," said Kathy Latawiec, neighbor.
Billowing smoke and flames were captured on cellphone video as the fire spread.
"Terrible," said Latawiec.
The flames ravaged parts of the property. The aftermath is difficult for neighbors like Kathy Latawiec to process.
"The garage is totally gone," said Latawiec. "With two cars totally destroyed and it looks like half their house is."
Latawiec was nearby when it all began.
"I was cleaning out my car right in front of my garage when I heard two explosions. I thought what is that," Latawiec said.
The fire started on Denis Avenue, appearing to ignite the garage before jumping to the home. Firefighters responded within minutes of the call going out.
"They witnessed the garage fully involved," said Battalion Chief Robert Hartung, Milwaukee Fire Department.
Battalion Chief Robert Hartung says former first responders stepped in.
"We had two Milwaukee firefighters that live in the neighborhood," said Hartung. "They began to clear the residences on all sides where the fire was."
Department dedication amid destruction.
"It says that no matter what, if you're retired or still working, we're going to show up to your day 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Hartung.
As a family picks up the pieces, neighbors are relieved those impacted survived.
"I really feel sorry for that family," said Latawiec.
One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion. The cause of the fire is under investigation.