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Fire chief credits police for lives saved in blaze

  • Associated Press
  • December 12, 2013 - 7:55 AM

RIPON, Wis. — Ripon's fire chief says quick action by local police officers in a downtown fire likely saved the lives of upstairs apartment tenants.

Ripon Area Fire District Chief Tim Saul says the three-alarm fire that started early Wednesday and burned three brick buildings had the potential to be deadly.

"Some of these buildings are old and deteriorated and the upstairs apartments above the businesses have a very minimal means of egress," Saul said. "There is no doubt that police saved lives today. This had all the potential to be a multi-fatal fire."

Police evacuated 22 tenants from the apartments, including nine children. No one was injured.

Boca Grande Capital Property Manager Alisa Zabel tells Action Reporter Media (http://fondul.ac/18WuGdn ) that three families living in the upper apartments lost their homes.

"There are 13 people who have lost everything. There are even more people who have been affected by smoke and water damage in nearby apartments," Zabel said. "Right now I'm trying to find housing for these families who have a lot of children. I'm staring at their building and there's no roof or nothing left inside."

Ripon Mayor Gary Will said it's too soon to tell if the damaged buildings in the city's historic downtown can be salvaged. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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