A Mukwonago man is lucky to be alive after a likely electrical fire on Christmas Day.
The Mukwonago Fire Department says the fire likely started in the basement because of electrical issues. During the fire, the homeowner tried to go back inside to save his two cats, but was not able to rescue them.
"Christmas is always hard," Andy Wegner, Assistant Chief for the Mukwonago Fire Department said. "You're always thinking, what is the family losing? Besides normal possessions, they're losing Christmas possessions."
Wegner says the man was preparing for a Christmas party at his house. While they battled the fire, friends and family arrived to see the house in flames.
One of those people on the guest list was Patrick Hays. He and his wife were headed to the party when Hays, a firefighter with the Vernon Fire Department, heard the call about the situation. He dropped his wife off at home before heading over to help with the fire. Little did he know, it was the home he planned on celebrating at later that night.
"When I pulled up, I saw it was my friend's house," Hays said. "For the most part, it's easy to put aside because you don't know the people. You try to do the best you can for them but in this case, it's harder to put aside because he's a close friend of mine. I'll take a while to fall asleep tonight."
The homeowner will have a place to sleep tonight. The Red Cross put him up and will take care of him in the meantime, but when it's time to come back home, his neighbors will be there.
"This community is so great," Alison Benning, a neighbor said. "Multiple people have gone over already. We stopped over with food and offered him a place to stay."
"It's an awful thing to have happen," Ryan Bondar, a neighbor said. "Especially on the holidays when you have plans to have people over."
The fire department says it could have been much worse though. Luckily, the homeowner had doors in his home closed so it did not feed the fire and allow it to spread. For as terrible as a Christmas Day fire is, the home will not be a total loss.