Community comes together after Port Washington family loses animals in fire

Posted at 9:57 PM, Dec 29, 2016

A Port Washington family lost several animals in a massive barn fire early Thursday morning.

The fire broke out just before 4:00 a.m. on Northwoods Road near I-43.

"It's kind of an eerie feeling when you wake up to something like that and there's nothing you can do about it," homeowner John Belzer said. "Within 5 minutes, the fire just lit up like a jet engine. If anybody would have been in the upper part of the barn, they would have been incinerated! It was that hot."

Belzer's daughter first noticed the smoke when she woke up to go feed the animals.

"She walked down to the barn and opened it up and smoke just came roaring out," he said.

It took the help of six area fire departments to extinguish the flames.

By the time the fire was put out, 3 goats, 4 pigs and a chicken were dead.

"No human being got killed and that's the main thing," Belzer said.

When Lisa Laatsch at the Saukville Feed store up the road heard about the barn fire, she decided to step up and donate feed to the family for the surviving animals.

"We're about giving back to the community," Laatsch said. "That's what we're all about."

Belzer also has ponies and donkeys on his property. Fortunately, they survived since they were not inside the barn.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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