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Just before 7:30 this morning, firefighters battled below-zero wind chills at a two-alarm house fire on the far east side of Portage. Firefighters were dispatched to a residential fire where flames were coming through the window. Portage Fire Department Division Chief Chad Bogue says crews attempted an aggressive interior attack on the fire, but after about five minutes of operations, crews were pulled from the home due to a ceiling collapse on the first floor. A second alarm was struck due to the extreme cold so firefighters could relieve crews at faster intervals trying to stay warm. Portage fire officials stressed that hydrants in the area were not frozen and functioned appropriately. The house on State Road 149 south of US 20 was reported to be a complete loss. The fire department says residents were home at the time, but everyone including pets escaped safely. No information was available at this time on a possible cause. [Photo/Portage Fire Dept]
The Portage Fire Department is sending out thanks to Steelworkers Local 6787 for bringing coffee to the crews, Portage Police for traffic control on State Road 149 during the busy shift change at the local mills, and Portage Street Department assisting with bringing frozen equipment back to fire stations.
During the fire, crews also responded to I-94 for a vehicle accident with entrapment and injuries. Westbound I-94 was closed to land a medical helicopter at the scene.
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