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Fire Destroys Home, Garage in Muskego

Nobody injured in blaze, which broke out around 4 a.m. Sunday on Hidden Creek Court and caused about $400,000 in damage.

A home on Hidden Creek Court was gutted by fire in the early morning hours on Sunday, with witnesses saying it began in the garage and spread to the rest of the home. 

No one was injured, but many of the firefighters who responded had up to a quarter-inch of ice on them from the water, said Tess Corners Fire Chief Skip Wojnowski. In addition, neighbors said the water that came from the hoses was as it was sprayed onto the home.

The fire was called into police as one of the neighbors, Justin Pauly, let his dog Charlee out around 4 a.m. Seeing the fire, Pauly called 911 and then "ran around the neighborhood trying to wake people up," according to reports.

"She never usually has to go out overnight, so I wonder if she sensed something," Pauly said.

"The man is a hero. He saved people's lives, including the people who lived in that house," said Tracy Manz, who lives to the back of the property.

"I don't think I'm a hero. I feel the next door neighbor to me would've done the same thing," Pauly said. "You just react on instinct."

Tess Corners Fire and Rescue were able to extinguish the blaze despite the frigid temperatures by 7 a.m. according to police. Fire personnel from Big Bend, New Berlin, Wind Lake, Vernon and the North Prairie Fire Bells also responded.

"The structure fire started in garage, went up in through the eaves into the attic," Wojnowski said. "The cause is not determined yet."

Pauly said the homeowner, Russell Lemke, woke up to the "sound of popping, and when he opened the garage door from the house, the flames just came through.

Wojnowski estimated the damage at $400,000.

The family and their two pets were assisted by the Red Cross, which took them to La Quinta  Hotel in New Berlin to stay.

Neighbors said they feel for the family.

"They lost everything. I don't think they even have a car," said Manz.

This version includes an update from the Tess Corners Fire Chief, and neighbors who witnessed the blaze. 

Tom Ciula January 20, 2013 at 02:17 PM
Love thes quick alerts and updates
james b leonard III January 20, 2013 at 02:33 PM
how awful to loose your home and all the memories,just glad everyone is safe......
Denise Konkol January 20, 2013 at 03:16 PM
We are hoping to pass along any efforts to help this family in the aftermath. We will keep you posted.
Robert J. Kristbaum January 20, 2013 at 04:34 PM
Thank to the fire fighters for all they do
Denise Konkol January 20, 2013 at 10:55 PM
A few of you have contacted me asking how to help. The American Red Cross has said the best way to help is with a financial gift, redcross.org or 1-800-REDCROSS. If I hear of any other local efforts I will certainly pass it along. Thanks everyone for caring!

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