Rhinelander 7-year-old saves siblings from house fire

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The Rhinelander Fire Department is calling a 7-year-old boy a hero after he led his 6-month-old and 4-year-old siblings to safety when his family’s home caught fire Tuesday.

Deputy Chief Jim Plautz says the fire department responded to 33 North Brown Street around 4 p.m. Tuesday after getting a report of a structure fire with 3 children still inside the building.

Plautz says, when the 7-year-old boy observed fire in a second-story room, he grabbed the 6-month-old from its crib and told his 4-year-old brother to follow him to safety.

When firefighters arrived, they learned that all occupants were safely out of the two-story duplex.

“He was a hero, he saved his siblings for sure,” said Plautz.

A total of 9 family members and several animals live in the first and second-story apartments.

Firefighters rescued at least 3 dogs, a ferret and multiple chinchillas and gerbils.

5 people were taken to the hospital. One resident was treated for burns and smoke inhalation, three residents were treated for smoke inhalation and a firefighter was treated for a dog bite. The firefighter was bitten by the dog he was rescuing. Plautz says the dog was disoriented and scared from the smoke.

Investigators have not determined a cause for the fire, but they do know it started on the second-story.

Plautz says the building is currently uninhabitable and the family has been displaced.

The Red Cross is helping the family with shelter and additional needs.

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