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Tenants safely escape massive apartment fire in Appleton

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Posted at 3:49 AM, Mar 13, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-13 12:59:22-04

APPLETON, Wis. — An apartment building is destroyed in a fire in Appleton.

It broke out around 2 a.m. Wednesday near the 200 block of North Appleton Street.

The building's owner says 7 people lived in these apartments and were home at the time of the fire.

Fire crews say 8 tenants were evacuated safely.

Officials say they believe this is a natural gas fire but they still can't confirm a cause.

The heaviest smoke and fire was found in the kitchen area of the downstairs restaurant.

The building is a total loss.

Officials say they saw heavy smoke coming from the walls, floors and ceiling and had to take a defensive approach.

As of 5 a.m. Wednesday, firefighters were working to prevent it from spreading to the next door building.

Washington and Appleton Streets are blocked off while crews battle the blaze.

Heavy smoke can be seen for several blocks surrounding the apartment.

The building has a restaurant on the first floor called AKB and there were 4 rooms rented out upstairs, according to the building owner.

Multiple streets are closed in Appleton's central business district, including Appleton St. between College and Franklin, and Washington between Oneida and Superior.

NBC26 has a crew on scene and will update this story once we learn more.