Tenant runs into burning apartment to save people, pets - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Tenant runs into burning apartment to save people, pets


ASHWAUBENON (WBAY) -- A massive apartment fire caused thousands of dollars worth of damage this weekend, leaving 16 people without apartments to stay in. No one was killed in the fire, and multiple pets were rescued, all thanks to one brave apartment tenant.

"Fire alarms started going off. We saw smoke. Ran over to see what it was, saw the apartment engulfed,” Jacob Wright says, recalling his first reaction to Sunday’s fire.

As fire crews began responding to the scene, Wright was reliving one of his worst childhood memories.

“I lost my grandfather in a house fire when I was 13 years old,” he says. “My house burned down. I lost everything. I didn’t want that to happen again.”

That’s why Wright ran back into the burning apartment building, hoping to save everyone he could.

“I just went from apartment to apartment trying to help everyone get out and get any animals that were stuck in,” Wright says. “I kicked in one of the other doors, ran upstairs and grabbed their crated dog, brought him down, and tried to help everyone get out.”

Wright suffered minor burns, smoke inhalation and signs of a cardiac problem but says he would do it all over again.

“If there was someone in there, if someone would have been sleeping or trapped, afraid to get out,” Wright says, "if I wouldn't have tried, then that would have been on me.”

Right now, no one is allowed back into their apartments. The Red Cross has stepped in to help anyone displaced during the fire.

“They were put up in a hotel, and then myself and a couple other people will follow up this casework and what we want to do is get them as fast as we can, moving forward, away from the disaster,” says Mike Scalf of the American Red Cross. “Get them to a new place, or whatever needs they need for us to advocate for them, or facilitate for them, we will do what we can.”

Emergency responders are still working to determine what may have caused the fire.

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