New Berlin — A two-story home in the 12700 block of Forest Drive in New Berlin is a total loss after a Saturday morning blaze that killed a family pet, according to fire personnel.
New Berlin police were still investigating the cause of the fire as of Monday. A New Berlin fire official said investigators had not determined the location of the fire's origin. Seven neighboring fire departments helped New Berlin battle the fire.
The call for help came in at 10:59 a.m. When firefighters arrived three minutes later, they found the home fully engulfed in flames. Fire was shooting from all windows and from the roof, said New Berlin Fire Chief Lloyd Bertram.
The couple who lived there had left the home only 45 minutes before the 911 call reached the fire department, he said. They are now staying with relatives, he said. The family dog died. There were no injuries to firefighters, Bertram said.
The fire was under control in about an hour, he said. The next door home only about 25 feet away suffered no damage, other than a small amount of smoke, Bertram said. Getting the blaze under control so quickly was key to keeping the neighboring home safe, he said.
The fire posed challenges because it was so far along by the time firefighters were called. The house was in a neighborhood with narrow streets and no fire hydrants, Bertram said.
It is unusual for a fire to be so far along in such a reasonably populated area before a 911 call comes in, Bertram said.
"We were surprised," he said.
Because the area does not have hydrants, New Berlin called on Elm Grove, Vernon, Tess Corners in Muskego and the Town of Waukesha to bring water to the fire. Tenders that carry about 3,000 gallons each filled up at a hydrant about three -quarters of a mile away at Elm Grove Road and Greenfield Avenue, Bertram said.
Meanwhile, firefighters from West Allis and the city and town of Brookfield helped battle the blaze, he said.
Saturday's weather also made the scene slippery, he said. But the New Berlin Department of Public Works kept spreading salt, "that was very helpful," Bertram said.