Crews Focus on Cleanup at Riverview Apartments

By: Paige Lambrecht
By: Paige Lambrecht

It was a chaotic scene at the Riverview apartment complex Saturday morning. Fire crews worked to control a blaze while residents struggled to get down several flights of stairs and out of the building.

Vivian Roberts has lived in Riverview for 13 years.

"People were just suddenly quiet. It got really quiet and then people started going through."

Resident Virginia Matis adds, "It was very scary. I don't want to go through it again.”

Crews put out the blaze quickly, but not before it caused extensive damage to the first floor wing including melted wiring and charred doors.

Wausau assistant fire chief Gerald Mijal says, "When I first looked in on the first floor, I had a real sick feeling in my stomach because it was right down to the floor. You couldn't see. In my 30 years being on the department, I don't think we've ever had to deal with this much life in jeopardy.”

Luckily, none of the 150 residents were killed or seriously injured, but some changes will be taking place at Riverview. In fact, residents have learned they will no longer be allowed to burn candles, which officials say was the cause of the fire.

Residents like Virginia say as long as it prevents another one they don't mind, "I hope this never happens again. It's really something to go through it. I don't want to go through it again. No thanks."

Even though no one was seriously injured, six people went to the hospital for smoke inhalation.