2 children die after Sheboygan Falls house fire

Posted at 6:30 AM, Jan 27, 2016

SHEBOYGAN FALLS -- Police say the parents of four children home alone when fire broke out last night were at a bible study when it happened.  

Two children were killed, ages eleven and seven.

It is a devastating loss for the family and for the community.  A third child was in critical condition Wednesday evening and a fourth child made it out alive and then ran for help from a neighbor.

That neighbor broke down in our interview, recalling how that nine-year-old girl ran from her home next door in the snow in her bare feet, desperate to get help for her siblings.  He did all he could, calling 911 and trying to get into the burning home.

Video from another neighbor shows just how smokey it got on Western Avenue.  Gary Feldmann was one of the first to see it, as he ran to the home's sliding glass door to try to get inside.

“I put my head in there. I couldn’t even breathe, it was so hot, so full of smoke," said Feldmann.

Today, Feldmann is overcome with emotion, knowing an 11-year-old girl and a seven-year-old boy died in the fire.

“It was sad. More than a man can take," said Feldmann.

That 11-year-old girl died a hero, waking her nine-year-old sister, and getting her out safely.

“That 11 year old then re-entered the home to get two children ages ten and seven that were still in the house," said Steven Riffel, Sheboygan Falls Director of Public sSafety.

Neighbors are overcome by sadness.

Penny Ziemke said, "There’s just no words, it was so terrible.”

A few are now collecting donations on behalf of the family.  Jennifer Te Stroete's asking Facebook friends to help.

“People can drop off blankets, clothes, food, anything except money," said Te Stroete.

One guy down the street's collecting cash, standing outside for hours, and drivers have been very generous.

“I can’t donate a lot, so I’m gonna give my time and get some money for them, that’s what I figure I’m doing," said Clint Witt.

And people are already setting up a tribute to the kids, outside the home.

“They were just fun loving, spirited very polite, just good kids," said Paula Stuart, friend of the family.

The Sheboygan Falls School District administrator sent us this statement, "As a district, we are saddened by this loss. Our thoughts are with the family." 

Those who want to make a donation can do so in the family's name at Northwestern Mutual in Plymouth (407 E. Mill St.) or at the Sheboygan Falls Piggly Wiggly (116 Fond du Lac Ave.).