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House fire displaces Belgium family PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mitch Maersch   
Wednesday, 14 December 2016 19:25

Nobody injured in late-night blaze Sunday

Christmas won’t be quite as merry this year but may serve as a reminder of what’s most important for one Town of Belgium family.

A house fire late Sunday night displaced two parents and their 2-year-old son at 6442 Hwy. B. A dog was saved as well.

After smelling smoke, the three ran next door to their landlord, Nick Bares, and called 911.

“Everyone got out in time. No one got hurt. That’s the best thing,” Bares said.

The three, along with their terrier-type dog the size of a cat, stayed with Bares a couple of nights before they were expected to get an apartment Tuesday. Bares’ wife is the cousin of the man living in the rental house.

The three were able to save some of their clothes and belongings, Bares said. He said he has insurance on his property but the tenants do not have rental insurance.

The American Red Cross didn’t provide housing assistance since the family had a place to stay, but it gave financial assistance for replacement of food, clothing and baby items, spokesman Barbara Behling said.

“We always feel worse when it’s around the holidays and it’s so cold. People need winter jackets and boots,” Behling said.

Weather, time of year and location do not impact the Red Cross’ ability to help, she said.

“The funding system is the same whether you’re here or in Florida,” Behling said. “Many times in a small town the community rallies together.”

Belgium Fire Chief Dan Birenbaum said it was difficult to fight the fire in frigid temperatures. The blaze got into the 1.5-inch gap between the metal and asphalt roofs of the building and was difficult to find.

“It was a hard job pulling the ceiling down,” Birenbaum said. “Crews did a nice job of attacking it.”

The Ozaukee County Highway Department heavily salted the entire area, given the freezing temperatures turned water from the tanker trucks into ice, Birenbaum said.

Firefighters were on the scene until about 3:30 a.m., he said.

“Everybody did a nice job. It was a tough job,” Birenbaum said.

The same nine departments responded to the fire call that put out a barn fire on Dec. 5, Birenbaum said. Those included Belgium, Port Washington, Fredonia, Waubeka, Saukville, Cedar Grove, Newburg, Random Lake and Oostburg.

A damage estimate and whether or not the house was a total loss was not yet determined.

The cause of the fire is unknown but is not suspicious, Birenbaum said.

Behling said the holidays are the busiest season for fires due to holiday cooking and baking, overloaded circuits from Christmas lights, candle fires, unchecked furnaces and placing towels on top of space heaters.

In displacements, the Red Cross will provide housing assistance if needed, as well as replacement of eyeglasses, glucose meters, medications and dentures, Behling said.

She said the Red Cross is always looking for volunteers or donations. For more information, go to

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