Editor's note: This article has been updated to reflect a clarification about the resident.
The only resident home in the house on East Douglas Street that went up in flames early Sunday morning made it out alive thanks to neighbors and Port Washington police officers.
Justin Kriegel was the only person inside the house, 230 E. Douglas St., at 1:35 a.m. Sunday morning when officers were dispatched to the area after a neighbor called to report having seen sparks, which she thought were fireworks, Port Washington Fire Chief Mark Mitchell said.
Officers arrived at 1:38 a.m. and noticed flames coming from the house, Mitchell said. Neighbors made them aware of a person inside, and officers went inside to rescue him, according to Cole Kriegel, Justin's brother, who no longer lives in the home.
- Related: See a map showing the location of the home, as well as what it looked like before the blaze.
Police officers found Justin in the basement. He made it out fine, along with a family dog; a family cat inside the house was killed. The house is shared with members of the Benson family, Cole said.
By 1:43 a.m., Mitchell was on scene and said the fire that had started in the breezeway area of the home had already spread to the garage and the upper floor of the house. The fire department was able to get the "bulk of the fire" out within five minutes, but by that time the damage was done — parts of the house that weren't destroyed by flames had suffered smoke damage.
Mitchell said the officials suspect electrical issues ignited the blaze.
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"From what I understand, (the neighbor) was debating even calling, so she should be commended for calling," Mitchell said. "People should err on the safe side."
Mitchell said he also took extra precautions because of the dry weather, sending out an extra alarm for help before even leaving home. Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, and Cedarburg responded, while Waubeka and Theinsville departments were standing by.
"Special thanks to the neighbors for knowing someone was home," Cole said on Monday, while walking around the remains of the house. The garage is destroyed, and the patio was also consumed in flames. Everything in the house was lost, and there is also "extensive water damage" inside, he said.
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The residents of the home are now staying in a hotel in Grafton. Patch has not heard of anyone who has started a fund to help the family recoup their losses, so if you know of a way to help or are interested in starting a fund please e-mail Local Editor Lyssa Beyer.