Investigation seeks cause of devastating fire in Greenfield

GREENFIELD (WITI) -- Fire destroyed the Willowick apartment building on W. Southridge Drive this weekend. 15 families were displaced by the fire -- and most don't have insurance. As families pick up the pieces, investigators are trying to determine what led to this blaze.

On Monday, March 3rd, investigators began work to try to determine the cause of the fire. Those involved in the investigation include the Greenfield Police Department, the State Fire Marshals Office and the ATF.

The call for the fire, which broke out in the 7300 block of Southridge Drive in Greenfield came in around 1:00 p.m. Saturday, March 1st. Fire officials believe the blaze began in the basement.

"We watched the flames go up and take everything," Stanley Segalle, a resident of the apartment complex told FOX6 News.

Segalle is a Vietnam veteran, and this isn't the first time he's had to start over. He says after the fire destroyed his home, he now plans on staying with family in Sheboygan.

He says the fire that raced through the building on Saturday afternoon destroyed more than belongings.

"I had a couple of pets. They were with me for a long time, and now they're not," Segalle said.

Other tenants in the community are stepping up and donating items to displaced families.

"I came in when everything was taking place, and I knew if I spread the word, I could get something going," Rachel Krueger -- a tenant working to help affected families told FOX6 News.

The American Red Cross has set up a Disaster Relief Center on site.

The Greenfield fire is one of four disasters the Red Cross is dealing with from this past weekend.

"Winter has been difficult. Every day there's been a fire in Milwaukee. We are $56,000 over-budget in the first eight months of our fiscal year," Sara Bruesewitz with the American Red Cross said.

The Hoffman family lost nearly all of their possessions. Linda Hoffman is hard of hearing -- and says she didn't hear the fire alarms.

"The fire department came and grabbed me by the arm and pulled me out," Hoffman said.

Hoffman's husband wasn't home, but rushed to the scene and saw the building's roof collapse into their apartment.

Then, he realized Linda had been pulled out.

"I want to be thankful for the fire lady -- mainly her. If she hears this, I want her to know my name is Bill Hoffman and I appreciate it," Bill Hoffman said.

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