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PHOTOS: Fire Destroys Douglas Street Home; Officers Save Resident

Justin Kriegel was the only person home when the fire was noticed inside the house at 230 E. Douglas Street, and Port Washington police officers were able to get him, as well as a family dog, out safely; a family cat was killed in the blaze.

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.

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.

Cole Kriegel July 09, 2012 at 10:42 PM
FYI...i did not say he was handicapped and was not able to get out by himself.. he was sleeping and did not know what was going on at the time...
Lyssa Beyer (Editor) July 09, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Hi Cole, Sorry I misunderstood what you had said. I thought you said he would have needed help getting out. Makes sense that he was sleeping ... I removed that from the article.
teri langhoff July 11, 2012 at 09:21 PM
Hey Cole. I'm sorry to hear that your mom's house burned I'm glad Justin made it out but I'm sorry to hear about their cat. I will help in whatever way they need it

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