Tragedy Strikes One Family Twice When Two Wausau Houses Burn Down

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

Two Wausau area families are homeless after fires Sunday afternoon and Monday morning. Even more tragic, the families are related.

The first fire erupted around 1 p.m. Sunday on Hwy. 52 just east of Wausau. The two homeowners were not home at the time, therefore nobody was hurt, but they did lose everything.

Just ten hours later, another fire broke out at a home on N. 3rd Street in Wausau.

13 occupants escaped unharmed, including an infant, who is credited for alarming relatives.

"The family was actually made aware of the fire by a crying baby who woke one of the residents," said Battalion Chief Doug Beula of the Wausau Fire Department.

Amazingly, a relative tells NewsChannel 7, the survivors from both homes are related, something he calls a one in a trillion chance.

He says his parents lived in the home on Hwy. 52, and his brother-in-law, nieces and nephews lived in the home on N. 3rd Street.

Along with getting support from each other, there's another organization that is willing to help.

Since the beginning of the year the American Red Cross has helped six families in the area who have been displaced by fire, according to Lora Hainy, the regional director for the American Red Cross.

The local chapter provides shelter, food, and clothing for families affected by fire or any other disaster.

"We continue to work with the family for additional needs that may arise and then we also partner with many other local agencies," Hainy said.

She says now is a good time to make sure you have working smoke detectors, a fire extinguisher and a safety plan.

The local work the American Red Cross does with fire victims is funded through its Disaster Relief Fund, which is funded entirely through donations.

There is still no cause of the Hwy. 52 fire, but Wausau Fire Marshal Dave DeSantis says the N. 3rd Street fire was caused by an overloaded fuse box.

He says the fuse box was made to handle 15-amp fuses, but 25 and 30-amp fuses were used. The too large fuses caused the circuit to overheat, starting the fire.

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