Greendale firefighter's home catches fire while he is on duty

They rush toward emergencies every day, but on Monday, Feb. 14, a Greendale firefighter learned the call to help at a house fire in Muskego was actually at his home. Now, firefighters across the state are pitching in to help him.

Photos from a neighbor show a garage mostly in flames around 5:30 Monday evening.

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The Tess Corners Fire Department immediately called for mutual aid because of the smoke plume, bringing help from nearby departments like Greendale.

"We become used to what we have to do, but when it becomes a fellow brother or sister that this happens to, it sets everybody back," said Ryan Schwenkner, Professional Fire Fighters.

This call quickly became more personal. Greendale Fire Lieutenant Mike Schmitt realized the call was at his home.

"And I can't even imagine the next 10 minutes of the travel time that he had worrying about if his family is out of the house or not," said Greendale Fire Chief Kenton Kais.

Tess Corners Fire Department officials said two off-duty firefighters and others helped Schmitt's family and dog evacuate. A look at the home Tuesday revealed the destruction.

"The biggest thing that concerns me – this is not gonna be a one-week or a two-week kinda fix," said Kais. "This is gonna take a year or more."

That's where the firefighting family has quickly jumped into action again. The Professional Fire Fighters organized a fundraiser to help offset costs for the Schmitt family, hoping generosity can help a home and family rise from the ashes.

"Times like this is what puts us to a test, and this is where we actually shine of what we can do for each other," said Schwenkner.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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