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Quite the ordeal in fire PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAVE BOEHLER   
Wednesday, 03 January 2018 19:16

    Haley Church knew something was wrong the day after Christmas when she says a plumber working on her apartment began running up and down the stairs bringing his tools out.
    So she tried to go upstairs to see what the problem was, but smoke and fire at the four-unit apartment building at Church Lane and South Tower Street in Saukville made it impossible.
    “Halfway up the stairs, you could just smell it,” Church said. “It smelled so bad, it hurt to breath in. I walked into my bathroom and it was already filling with smoke. The inside of my wall was basically lit up like a Christmas tree. It was all orange. The only thing I could think to do was tell my friends (in the apartment) there was a fire and obviously to get my son out.”
    One of her friends was Rachel Rodriguez, who lived there since March and had just gotten to work that day.
    “I have to start all over again, literally,” Rodriguez said. “As far as I’m concerned, this is the nicest place I’ve ever lived. It actually felt like home to me, and now it’s gone.”
    A plumber soldering pipes in Church’s upstairs bathroom led to the fire that started in the attic and wiped out the second floor, according to Saukville Fire Chief Gilly Schultz.
    No one was injured, but as many as nine or 10 residents were displaced.
    The 20-year-old Church, a Port Washington High School graduate who has a 2 1/2-year old son, lived there since she was 18.
    She was in her living room when the fire started and ran to her bedroom to grab her son’s diaper bag and some other warm clothes for him before taking him to a friend’s place across the street.
    “At first, I definitely was in shock,” Church said. “At the time I walked outside, it was coming out of the roof, the entire road in front of the apartment was filled with smoke. It was scary. I couldn’t believe it.”
    Church could only save a car seat and the clothes that were in her dryer.
    She spent the first two nights in a hotel with the help of the Red Cross and is now staying with a family friend.
    Rodriguez, who has a 5 1/2-month-old son, is staying with her step-sister in Jackson for the time being.
    She was only able to salvage a bouncy chair her mother bought for her son.
    “Yeah, everything else has smoke or water damage,” she said.
    Because Rodriguez lost all of her clothes, her aunt from Tennessee contacted one of her friends to take her to Goodwill.
    “I posted something on Facebook and my phone has literally not stopped ringing since,” Rodriguez said. “I have a ton of people trying to meet me with donations and stuff. I actually had a family who saw me on the news, a woman, who found me on Facebook and drove out and brought me a ton of stuff for my son.”
    A building inspector spent last Thursday at the complex, and Church and Rodriguez were told the apartment will not be inhabitable for another four to six months.
    “That’s just the estimate by the inspector so far and I don’t know who they’ve all had go look in there,” Church said. “The insurance guy looked the other day. But four to six months seems like an extremely short time for how much damage that there is.”
    Would Church move back?
    “Right now, I’m honestly not sure,” she said.
    Rodriguez says she would like to.
    “I don’t have to if I don’t want to, but I’d still like to live there if I can have my place back,” she said.
    “I’m not exactly sure what I want to do, but I loved my place.”

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