Second-graders spot fire from nearby playground

BEAVER DAM -- A fire destroyed part of an assisted living complex in Beaver Dam on Saturday. Nobody was hurt in the incident, but it could have been much worse if it wasn't for some quick-thinking kids!

The fire started shortly before noon on Saturday at the complex. Fire crews immediately called for mutual aid, and the fire was put out in less than two hours.

Tori Maxwell came from a neighboring complex to help. She says she wouldn't have known about the fire if it weren't for her second-grade son, Zyler, and a couple other kids who were playing outside when they saw something was wrong. "It was really smoky. Half the people didn't quite believe me, so I was pretty much forcing them to come out of their homes. I was pounding on the doors to get everybody out," Maxwell said.

Beaver Dam fire crews feared the worst when the call came in around 11:30 Saturday morning. "A working structure fire in an assisted living facility - we immediately elevated our response to mutual aid, which brought in several other neighboring fire departments. Turned out, we didn't need them, which is a good thing," Beaver Dam Fire Chief Alan Mannel said.

The fire was contained to mostly one unit and the only other damage reported was water damage in the apartment below.

Police say the woman in the severely damaged unit had to be displaced because of the fire. The Red Cross was at the scene to help the woman find housing for the time being. Firefighters say the woman's dog died in the fire, but nobody else was injured.

Maxwell smiles when she thinks about how quickly the kids applied lessons they learned in school. "For school this year, they had a project about how to get out of fires safely. I'm very proud they knew right away to get me and not try to go in there themselves," Maxwell said.

The cause of this fire remains under investigation.