Overpasses along I-794 were lined with firefighters, community members and locals who paid their final respects to Officer Matthew Rittner. Along the Whitnall overpass, firefighters with Milwaukee County Fire Department arrived two hours before the procession started waiting for the moment that the hearse would pass underneath them.
As it did, firefighters stood at attention and saluted their fellow brother. Although Officer Rittner worked with Milwaukee Police, the firefighters said they are all one unit made of dedicated men and woman who are committed to serving their community.
"We are all thinking about them. We have all taken some time to reflect and to remember and to show our respect. We like to think of them as brothers and sisters in what we do and when something like this happens, we all feel it," said firefighter Taylor Collins.
An Oconto man was injured after a fire broke out Wednesday at his residence in the city of Oconto.
The Oconto Fire and Rescue Department was dispatched at about 11:52 a.m. to 445 Jefferson St., for a report of a burning structure with smoke and flames visible.
Crews found smoke coming from the eaves and gable vents and a visible fire in a window of the one-story, wood-frame home. The man, the lone occupant, was already outside.
Firefighters knocked down the fire through a broken kitchen window. They encountered zero visibility caused by heavy smoke when they entered the house.
The man was transported to the hospital for injuries sustained while attempting to extinguish the fire before firefighters arrived. The cause of the fire in the home remains under investigation.
Fire Chief John Reed said the man declined assistance from the Red Cross, saying he had a place to go.
Green Bay Press-Gazette
John Andersen, deputy chief of fire prevention, has served in the Chippewa Fire District since it was formed in 1978, and he’s seen plenty of challenging fires. Andersen says the blaze at The View tavern on Lake Wissota on Tuesday might be the most challenging in his four decades of service.
“This is probably the worst weather conditions I’ve been in,” Andersen said Wednesday morning, noting he was at the scene for 12 hours on Tuesday, then returned overnight to assist in extinguishing more small fires that kept popping up.
“We had five people overnight, just putting out hot spots,” he said. “It’s almost like playing ‘whack-a-mole’ in fighting a fire. It’s the best analogy I can come up with. You think you got it, then you don’t.”
Besides the snow, there was a steady wind, which provided oxygen to the flame, helping it grow.
Eau Claire Leader-Telegram
A 12-year member of the Eau Claire Fire Department was fired Wednesday by the city’s Police and Fire Commission.
Brian Mero was terminated based on charges made by Fire Chief Chris Bell of misconduct, dishonesty, false reporting and using improper means to report alleged misconduct by his supervisors.
After the commission terminated Mero Wednesday morning, Bell said “it’s never fun” to let somebody go.
“It’s something that you only do if it’s absolutely necessary. It’s the things that are necessary for the good of the organization,” Bell said.
“For firefighters, we have to be honest and truthful in what we do,” he said. “The public expects that and I expect that.”
Mero could not be reached for comment.
According to the 15-page termination order approved Wednesday by the commission:
Mero performed his job duties acceptably and even commendably at times.
Eau Claire Leader-Telegram
A fire that caused $12,500 worth of damage to a Madison home was the result of improperly discarded cigarettes, according to a news release from the Madison Fire Department.
Fire crews responded to a home in the 10 block of North Franklin Avenue around 2:55 p.m. Tuesday. When first responders arrived on the scene, the homeowner told them the fire was already put out.
Firefighters reported a significant fire had taken place in the kitchen area and appeared to have originated in the nearby pantry. The homeowner said the he'd thrown some cigarette butts and their ashes into a garbage can in the pantry. The garbage had refuse inside that included paper products.
WISC-TV Channel 3000.com Madison