"It's suspicious:" Firefighters battle vacant building fire near 64th St. & 28th Ave. in Kenosha



KENOSHA -- Kenosha firefighters battled a structure fire near the intersection of 64th St. and 28th Ave. on Friday morning, August 14th. Firefighters worked to knock down the flames while staying hydrated on this hot day.

Crews responded to the scene around 8:30 a.m. after receiving reports of black smoke coming from the roof and chimney of a building. Upon arrival, crews found the old Bastrup Roofing and Supply on fire.

"This has got to be the most extensive fire I've ever seen," said Kevin Ermet, works next door.

Kenosha Police and Street Department Personnel blocked the roadways in the area with barricades and squad cars to ensure the safety of citizens as well as personnel on scene.

Mutual aid was requested by the Fire Department from neighboring jurisdictions and We Energies cut power to approximately 1,500 homes in the area.



Kevin Ermet works at Feld Body Shop next door, he shot cell phone video around 9 a.m.

"It was amazing. It was scary for a minute there. I never seen anything like that," said Ermet.

The utilities in the building were shut off and the city had padlocked a fence around it -- it was scheduled for demolition.

"Correct, that's why it's suspicious in nature," said Kenosha Fire Chief, John Thomsen.

At least 36 firefighters responded from 10 different companies including Kenosha, Racine, Bristol and Zion.

Firefighters worked for hours battling the flames and temperatures, working in shifts so they can cool off and re-hydrate.

"We rotate in, that way nobody gets too tired and heat exhaustion or sick or ill," said Chief Thomsen.

Their gear alone weighs 75lbs, adding to the difficult fight.

"It's like wearing a snowmobile suit in the summertime," said Chief Thomsen.

The flames were so high, four aerial trucks were used and many residents were asked to evacuate their homes as a precaution. While others, like Ermet, were left without power.

"They had to cut it off. That's all my feed up there. So I can't even work today," Ermet said.

Ermet is just glad the wind is blowing west today.

"I mean, I feel bad for everybody else on that side but it could have been real bad for me over here," Ermet said.

No injuries were reported from this fire.

The building is considered a total loss and the investigation as to how it got started is ongoing.

 

Monitor FOX6 News and FOX6Now.com for updates on this developing story.