Cudahy family displaced by fire days before Christmas

CUDAHY (WITI) -- A family in Cudahy has been displaced by a house fire than took place on Tuesday night, December 17th. Authorities believe the cause was a match that wasn't properly disposed of.

Jerry Jophlin stopped by his severely damaged and boarded up home less than 24 hours after the fire.

"Just trying to tie up some loose ends and see what's left of it," said Jophlin. "It's heart-wrenching with Christmas coming up."

Jophlin, his wife and two daughters, along with his son-in-law and his three children, lived in the home. His 15-year-old daughter alerted the family to smoke in a bedroom just before 8 p.m.

Jophlin said his family has practiced fire drills and how to get out of the home in case of an emergency. The family all made it out of the house safely, however one of their pets wasn't so lucky.

"Everybody was out of the building upon arrival of the fire department," said Jophlin. "We had animals and I was making sure the family was out and I ran back in there, tried to get the rest of the animals out. One cat died in the fire."

Cudahy police say the fire started in an upstairs bedroom. Evidence suggests a match that was used to light a candle wasn't properly extinguished and ended up on the floor.

Jophlin and his two daughters were treated for smoke inhalation and are doing well. Although the home will need substantial repairs, Jophlin says, he's thankful his family is alive.

"I guess what you can learn by this is you just never know when something like this is going to happen," said Jophlin.

All five kids who lived int he home attend school in Cudahy. The school district send out a letter to families asking for donations, specifically clothing, shoes and other basic needs.

Cudahy Mayor John Hohenfeldt says Cudahy City Hall will be accepting clothing donations including boy's sizes 6 and 12 and girl's sizes 4T-5T and clothing for a 15-year-old girl, size unknown. Adult sizes are medium tops and size 8-9 pants for a woman and large tops and unknown pant size for a man.

Donations from the public may also be dropped off at the Cudahy Municipal Building Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Hohenfeldt says toys for the children and any household items would be appreciated.