UPDATE: Red Cross assists family coping with loss of home - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Red Cross assists Eau Claire family coping with loss of home


UPDATE: Eau Claire (WQOW) - The American Red Cross is making sure a local family has food and clothing, as they cope with the loss of their home.

The fire started yesterday evening on the 13-hundred block of Cameron Street. Crews battled flames for about six hours. The Eau Claire Fire Department says the home had been remodeled over the years, creating void spaces that made the fire difficult to put out. They were unable to save the home.

The family escaped the home safely, one firefighter received a minor injury, but didn't have to be taken to the hospital.  It's not clear yet what caused the fire, but investigators do not believe it was suspicious. 

Eau Claire (WQOW) - What remains of an Eau Claire home is smoke and charred wood.

Firefighters were called to the 1300 block of Cameron Street just before five o'clock Thursday night. Crews were unable to save the home, but those inside made it out safely.

Homeowner Brian Lawrence says in retrospect, he's lucky. Even though his home was destroyed by fire, the thing most precious to him, his 15-year-old son, is safe.

"You never think you'd ever go through something like this, you know," says Brian.

Brian can only watch, as flames destroy his Cameron Street home.

"I was at an appointment today and my son called me up all crying and freaked out that the house was on fire, so I drove back, and he had actually tried to put it out with a fire extinguisher, and took a deep breath and got out because it was too late," Brian says.

Brian's fifteen year old son Nathan was the only one home when the fire started, and was able to make it out safely and call for help.

"That's the benefit of smoke detectors. They gave him the warning that he needed, so he got out safely," says Eau Claire Deputy Fire Chief Duane Grunst.

The cold and the fast moving flames made conditions difficult for firefighters to battle.

"They got into the basement, knocked the fire down, it had already worked its way up into the first floor, they got back inside there, and because of the remodels and stuff like that the fire got into parts of the home we couldn't get at," says Deputy Chief Grunst. "Very difficult to get into the walls, and that's where the fire is at, unfortunately. And the attic."

"I got lots of my grandpas stuff, mostly papers and stuff, things that don't mean much to others, but are priceless to me. That's what I really hate to see go up," says Brian, as he watches the flames destroy the home his family has lived in for 13 years.

But even as the memories go up in smoke, Brian counts himself lucky.

"All I care about is that he's out and my wife's out. That's all it is," says Brian. "I got lots of friends and family and neighbors, they all came out and offered help."

Crews were still on scene as of 10 p.m. Thursday night. They plan to be there well into the night checking for hot spots. One firefighter was injured while inside the house, but was not taken to the hospital.

The fire department believes the fire may have started in the basement.

Crews tell us tonight they're still not sure what started the fire. They are investigating, but don't have any reason to believe it's suspicious. Fire crews estimate the cost of the damages at around $90,000. The Red Cross is assisting the Lawrence family.


Press Release from the Red Cross:

The local American Red Cross Western Wisconsin Disaster Action Team responded on Thursday, March 21, 2013 to assist a family of three - two adults and child - displaced by a house fire that occurred in Eau Claire, WI.  Three trained American Red Cross Disaster Relief workers responded to a request to provide food and clothing to the family.  The Red Cross will continue to work with them as long as emergency assistance is required.  The responders also provided canteen services for the fire fighters.


UPDATE: Eau Claire (WQOW) - Cameron Street in Eau Claire is still being blocked off by police, as fire crews battle a fire on the 1300 block. The homeowner tells WQOW News 18 his son was home at the time of the fire and called it in. No one was injured. Crews are still knocking down flames at this point. The fire chief says they don't know what started the fire, but believe it may have started in the basement.

We'll have more tonight at 10 on WQOW News 18.


UPDATE: Eau Claire (WQOW) - A WQOW News 18 reporter on the scene spoke with homeowner, he says everyone made it out ok. His 15 year old son called in the fire. He has no idea what started it.


Eau Claire (WQOW) - Cameron St. is blocked off at Florence Ave. on the west side of Eau Claire for a fire.  WQOW News 18 has a reporter on scene and will have more information as it becomes available.



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