MILWAUKEE — Forced out into the cold — that was the reality for a number of people Monday on Milwaukee’s east side after an early-morning fire tore through an apartment building near Farwell and Webster.
The fire started in one apartment unit but ripped through all the floors of the three-story building, displacing at least a dozen people.
“I smelled it as soon as I came outside. ... We were yelling (and) we were screaming trying to wake people up,” Kristen Tinney said.
Tinney, who lives two apartment buildings over, was one of the first to call for help.
“I was just worried about the families that were in there,” Tinney said.
Fire crews arrived on scene just before 2:45 a.m. — working well into the morning fighting flames in freezing temperatures yet still managing to get everyone out of the building safely.
“The water freezes up quick; our hoses freeze up. It’s just hard to work in these conditions. We’ve been here for probably six hours. Everyone’s cold,” Deputy Chief Mike Blackwood said.
Red Cross volunteers also assisted, providing aid for temporary shelter and connections to health resources.
“The water freezes up quick; our hoses freeze up. It’s just hard to work in these conditions. We’ve been here for probably six hours. Everyone’s cold.” — Deputy Chief Mike Blackwood
"(We're) making sure these folks also have some next steps and have those kind of immediate needs taken so that they can move on from what has no doubt been a tragic morning,” said Justin Kern, communications director for the American Red Cross of Wisconsin.