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Appleton home fire spread from shed, fire department says

fire damage
Posted at 5:03 PM, Nov 29, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-29 18:19:20-05
  • A home caught fire Tuesday night on South Friendly Street in Appleton, and neighbors jumped in to help until firefighters arrived.
  • The tenants made it out in time, but the Appleton Fire Department says the home had no smoke detectors at all.
  • Statistics show that fire deaths are cut in half with working smoke detectors, so experts are reminding everyone to make sure you have them, and that your batteries are fresh

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Here in Appleton, neighbors who witnessed a fire jumped in to help before firefighters arrived.

A neighbor here on Friendly Street told me about the scary moments from Tuesday night.

“When I looked out the window, you could see, like, the flames.”

Betsy Vargas lives only a couple of houses away from the home that burned.

"I have five kids, so they were all like running around because they were scared."

She said her cousin lives across the street from the home that caught fire, and he texted her about it.

“And then I heard a knocking on my door. It was my aunt who had ran to go see if we were okay. And when I came out, I could see like the flames up in the air, and I called 911 right away.”

The Appleton Fire Department says they believe the flames spread from a storage shed to the home.

Vargas says so many neighbors did everything they could to stop the flames from spreading before firefighters showed up.

“Like all the neighbors came out with the shovels and started throwing snow at the fire 'til the fire department got here.”

Appleton Fire Department Public Education Specialist Alex Quintana tells me nobody was hurt, and everyone who lives in the home got out safely.

But something important was missing.

“One of the biggest things that we actually didn't find was smoke detectors or carbon monoxide alarms.”

The National Fire Protection Association says roughly three out of five fire deaths happen in homes with either no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms.

Their statistics show the risk of dying in a home fire is cut in half in homes with working smoke alarms.

"The holiday season is fast approaching, and we have many ways that fires can start in your home — anything from cooking fires to candles for holiday decorations, or even the holiday decorations themselves if you think of Christmas trees, or anything like that — so, definitely a good idea to double check if you didn't check your smoke alarm batteries during daylight savings."

While looking at the charred home, Vargas says she is grateful her neighbors made it out safely.

“That looks pretty bad. Glad they got out okay.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.