BROWN DEER — Around 100 people won’t be able to return home tonight after a large fire on Saturday in Brown Deer. Officials say no one was injured.
North Shore Fire Department responded to the blaze shortly after 4 p.m.
Battalion Chief Dan Tyk said when crews arrived on the scene, the fire was breaching the roof. Firefighters quickly began an aggressive interior attack but had to pull out. They then switched to a defensive operation.
Watch: A viewer sent us a video of a portion of the roof collapsing.
Crews battle large apartment fire in Brown Deer
North Shore Fire said the fire was out in about fifty minutes.
Part of the management team at River Place Apartments, who spoke with fire officials, said residents will be displaced from about 40 units.
An initial report from officials was that 200 people would be displaced due to a large portion of the building not having electricity. However, a restoration crew arrived last night to restore power.
Ten of the 40 units are uninhabitable due to fire damage. The others can not be used due to smoke or water damage, or because the specific area of the building does not have power.
“Just sad. Frustrated. I cried, cause not knowing what I was going to come home to,” said Stacey Patterson, who was picking up her mother from the hospital when she learned her apartment building was on fire.
Patterson said her unit was damaged by smoke and possibly water.
“I’m just glad we’re OK, and everybody’s safe. All that [personal possessions] can be replaced. I’m just glad everybody got out OK, and that we’re all fine,” she said.
Patterson and her family will be staying in a hotel. Another resident, Samantha Brandt, will be staying with family. Her actions on Saturday likely saved lives.
“I saw the flames in the corner, and I pulled on the alarm. I noticed the hallway’s lights were off. Everything was dark. So I started banging on doors,” she said.
At one point, Brandt turned face-first into a wall, she said. A nurse took a look at her nose and decided it wasn’t broken.
“It’s been a really long week,” Brandt said.
A spokesman for the Red Cross said teams have been working to establish a shelter for the night. Spokesman Justin Kern said the shelter opened at 10 p.m. at Brown Deer Elementary School, 5757 W Dean Road.
An official cause of the fire has not been determined, but Tyk said it appears it could be related to a lightning strike.