2 killed in fractal burning incident, Marathon County Sheriff’s Department warns of hobby’s danger

Police say two people found dead in a fire appear to be the victims of a tragic accident in Wisconsin. (Source: WSAW)
Published: Apr. 21, 2022 at 11:58 AM CDT
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ROZELLVILLE, Wis. (WSAW) - Two people found dead in a Rozellville area fire appear to be the victims of a tragic accident, according to Marathon County Deputy Chad Billeb.

Billeb explained Tanya Rodriguez, 44, and James Carolfi, 52, died as the result of electrocution while fractal burning. During a press conference Thursday, Billeb explained the couple died before the fire.

Fractal burning, also called Lichtenberg, is a process that creates designs on wood using high-voltage electricity and a conductive solution. The patterns and design look like lightning strikes. Billeb said this is sometimes done by using high voltage from a microwave. Billeb said the practice is popular on social media, but is extremely dangerous.

The couple’s bodies were found in the home’s garage. Billeb said evidence showed they were in the process of fractal burning.

On April 6, crews were called to a home on the 205000 block of Rangeline Road in the town of Day around 6 a.m. for a fire. The Marathon County Sheriff’s Department said the bodies of two people were found inside.

The location is between Auburndale and Stratford.

The Sheriff’s Office received assistance from the Wisconsin DOJ Division of Criminal Investigation State Fire Marshals and the Marathon County District Attorney’s Office.