UPDATE: Fire severely damages vacant home - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

UPDATE: Fire severely damages vacant home

WAUSAU (WAOW) – A fire severely damaged a vacant home just south of downtown Wausau on Tuesday as firefighters battled the blaze in subzero cold and needed sand and kitty litter to add traction as ice built up.

It was minus 15 degrees when firefighters arrived at the home on Grand Avenue about 9:30 a.m. The windchill made it feel like minus 30.

Flames from the fire shot through the roof of the home at one point.

The cause of the fire remained under investigation and was listed as undetermined late Tuesday, Deputy Fire Chief Phil Rentmeester said.

"It's extremely cold out here and as you can see there's a lot of ice buildup on the truck, on the people and on the grounds as well,” he said. “There are a lot of dangers in this weather.”

No firefighters were hurt, he said.

Rentmeester said 22 firefighters battled the blaze at the home, which had no household belongings inside but was being heated.

Fire trucks were kept running so firefighters could take a break from the cold if needed, he said.

A van was also brought to the scene and some firefighters were shuttled to the nearby fire station to warm up, Rentmeester said. An ambulance was also used as a makeshift warming house, he said.

The only serious problem while fighting the fire in the brutal cold was one length of hose sprung a leak, Rentmeester said.


WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) -- Crews are on the scene of a fire in Wausau at a vacant home, according to the Wausau Fire Department.

Officials say the fire is on the 1200 block of Grand Avenue and was reported by someone driving by.

Our crew on scene says smoke is billowing from the roof, which has partially caved in.

Firefighters are battling the blaze in extremely cold conditions. Officials say sand is being used to prevent slips and falls.

Traffic is being rerouted from a section of Grand Avenue.

Newsline 9 will update this story as more information becomes available.

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