UPDATE: Wausau Apartment Fire Started In or Around Chimney

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

Several families are left homeless after a fire, which began in or around a chimney destroyed the Wausau apartment complex they called home.

Seven of eight units inside the Tamarack Heights Apartments on Lavina Drive on Wausau's west side were occupied when the fire broke out Sunday night around 11 p.m.

Now those tenants are trying to figure out where they go from here after their homes, and possessions were destroyed.

"We've lost everything," said Joy Graybill, who shared an apartment with her boyfriend Mike Severt.

Investigators are working out the exact cause of the fire. They do know it started in or around a chimney in a second story apartment on the east side of the building. Other tenants say the occupant of that apartment had had a fire in the fireplace that night.

Everyone escaped without injury, but the emotional turmoil continues for those left homeless.

Graybill and Severt were asleep when they heard screams from the hallway. Graybill ran to the door, and was shocked at what she saw.

"I got greeted with a large wall of flames, the apartment across from us was on fire, so I basically ran back and got him, woke him up," she said.

The couple are thankful they could save their pet cat, but weren't able to grab anything else.

"The door was open, there were flames and it's like I didn't have a chance to get anything, just run out," Severt said.

Wausau Fire Chief Gary Buchberger says it took firefighters about 40 minutes to knock down the flames.

"They spent the next couple hours handling hot spots and verifying that everybody got out all right," he said.

The Red Cross was also on scene to give some relief to those displaced.

After their hotel voucher runs out in a few days, Graybill and Severt aren't sure where they'll go.

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