Fast-moving fire guts southside condo

Blaze in Chateau Court residence leaves woman homeless, her cats missing

BOARDED-UP WINDOWS on a Chateau Court condominium can be seen in the aftermath of a fire that caused extensive damage Thursday, Dec. 6, on Grafton’s south side. Photo by Sam Arendt
Ozaukee Press Staff

A condominium fire last week in Grafton has left a woman without a home and missing her two cats.

More than 10 fire departments responded to the blaze at 2025 Chateau Ct. on Thursday, Dec. 6, after the Grafton Fire Department received a report of a garage fire at 8:12 p.m.

“We found a vehicle on fire adjacent to the garage and a very large volume of fire blowing out of the garage with flames up to 15 to 20 feet,” Grafton Fire Chief Bill Rice said, noting there was a large amount of flammable material inside the garage.

Two residents inside the four-unit condo at the time were evacuated.

Rice said the fire began in the unit furthest to the south.

The cause of the fire is under investigation but Rice said it was most likely caused by burnt cooking materials that were discarded by a female resident.  

“She opened some doors to ventilate the kitchen and left, but the airflow caused the fire to grow,” he said.

Rice said the fire spread from the woman’s unit through an open door to the garage, then flames reached the vehicle outside.

Rice said the condo was filled with a massive amount of material because the woman has a hoarding condition.

“That made our efforts very difficult. As the crews entered the home, they had trouble making their way through due to the very limited space,” Rice said. “In homes that have hoarding, you don’t have rooms or hallways — you only have paths.

It took about 20 minutes just to get up to the second floor while they were working their way through the debris.”

Rice said crews were able to extinguish the main fire within five minutes but it took about an hour and a half to walk through and extinguish all of the small fires within the condo.

“What made it so difficult was finding all of the hidden fires throughout the structure,” he said.

Because of the cold weather and the amount of water used, the driveway iced over, which also made it more challenging for crews to work, Rice said.

Rice said there were no injuries but crews were unable to locate the two cats.

“We’re assuming they were somewhere in the structure, but we don’t know if they made it out due to the large amount of debris,” he said.

Rice said the woman’s unit is a total loss because of the fire damage. She is currently staying with friends.

One other unit was damaged and the resident was temporarily displaced, he said.

Aside from the Belgium Fire Department, all of the departments from Ozaukee County responded along with crews from Jackson and North Shore fire departments.



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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

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