Authorities return to 5-alarm fire scene in Riverwest after flare-ups
the WTMJ News Team
Photo: Video by tmj4.com
MILWAUKEE - Authorities have come back Wednesday morning to the scene of a five-alarm fire in Milwaukee's Riverwest neighborhood after flames re-flared hours after the initial fire was put out.
That fire sent two firefighters to the hospital.
Firefighters were called back the scene around 10 p.m. after police noticed smoke coming from the back of the building.
More than 100 firefighters were called to the Riverwest neighborhood near Pierce and Center Streets.
They battled not only big flames and heavy smoke but triple digit temperatures.
"Our firefighters on a day like (Tuesday) are good for 20 minutes or less," said Battalion Chief Sean Slowey.
The 5-alarm fire started inside Joe's East Coast Car Shop and spread to apartments in the building. Thick smoke surrounded Riverwest residents and hung in the air as firefighters attacked from all angles.
"We're constantly adjusting our tactics so that we can get in front of it and get this to an end as quickly as possible," said Assistant Fire Chief Dan Lipski.
Firefighters working inside the hot zone during were rotated every 20 minutes. Two firefighters were treated and released for heat exhaustion.
"Keep them hydrated," said Asst. Chief Lipski, "keep them in the shade and put cold rags on their neck. They are our greatest resource and it's up to us to make sure they can continues as soon as this fire is out with the next emergency."
When the fire was out, the curious came out to see the damage. So much oil spilled out onto the street, the city sent out a truck to drop sand to soak up the oil.
Everyone made it out safely. Police believe the fire was an accident, they say it started during some auto repair work with a gas tank.