TOMAH — Thirty-six people were displaced after an early Saturday morning fire damaged an apartment building in Tomah.
Tomah Fire Chief Tim Adler said everyone was safely evacuated from the fire that caused severe damage to the 16-unit apartment building on Murdock Street.
Adler said 41 firefighters from Tomah, the Oakdale Fire Department and Fort McCoy battled the fire. He said firefighters were at the scene all day Saturday and that flames shot 20 feet above the roof line.
“I had people out there until 5 p.m.,” Adler said.
The American Red Cross said it was helping 10 adults and four children find housing as of Sunday morning. It set up a temporary reception center Saturday at the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Tomah to assist families with emergency food, shelter and clothing.
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Adler described the damage as a “high-value loss” and said the cause of the fire has yet to be determined. He said an insurance company will need to determine if the unit is a total loss.
In addition to the firefighters, Adler said Tomah Police Department officers were on the scene alerting residents to the fire. Adler said everyone had been evacuated within minutes of the call.
“It was a good response by everybody,” Adler said. “I thought everything went well considering the circumstances.”
He said it was Tomah’s first major residential fire in more than 20 months.