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Fire at Days Inn in Wausau Leaves Guests Shaken

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Fire crews still do not know what caused a fire to break out at the Days Inn in Wausau, Saturday evening.

The fire started on the second floor of the hotel just after 8 p.m. More than 2 dozen guests were evacuated to nearby hotels. No serious injuries were reported. Fire officials said several guests were treated at the scene and declined to be transported to area hospitals.

Firefighters battled the blaze until nearly 5 a.m. Wausau Batallion Chief Mark Krueger said, the damage was mostly contained to the west side of the two-story building. He added, the rest of the 120-room hotel only shows smoke and water damage. Crews remained on scene for the majority of the day Sunday to make sure the fire did not re-ignite.

People caught in the fire were sent over to the Plaza Hotel across the street. The Days Inn, Plaza Hotel and Red Cross have been helping to provide food, shelter and basic necessities such as blankets and care kits to victims as they figure out what to do next. Some of people were staying in the hotel for a short visit, while others called it home.

James Soddy was living there for the past month with a friend. He assisted days inn staff with evacuation and monitored peoples' health conditions, alerting authorities if people had trouble breathing or other medical issues.

"I ended up getting everyone out of the room," said Soddy. "I ended up going down a couple doors towards the smoke, trying to get everybody out; you know women, kids. Safety of human life, not possessions."

Soddy is a former National Guardsman and said his training helped him to stay calm during the fire. People were evacuated to the front of the building until arrangements to take them to the plaza hotel were made. Many people are said they are still shaken from Saturday's traumatic event.

People are being covered for another nights stay tonight at the Plaza Hotel. After tomorrow, Soddy and others said, they are not sure what they will be doing.

The Red Cross volunteers said about 25 to 30 people were victims in this event. Everyone who talked with NewsChannel 7 said the support from the fire and police departments as well as the Red Cross and staff from both hotels has been great. Even people like Soddy and other victims have tried to do what they can to help each other stay safe, warm and taken care of.

Red Cross volunteers said they could still use help and donations for this cause. If you would like to contribute you are asked to call 1-800-RED-CROSS (733-2767).

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