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One killed in apartment fire

Published On: Dec 24 2013 10:35:42 AM CST
Updated On: Oct 17 2013 11:53:31 AM CDT
MADISON, Wis. -

Madison Fire Department investigators are still sorting out what caused a fatal fire and why it rekindled two and a half hours later.

The Dane County Medical Examiner confirmed one person is dead after the south side apartment fire Wednesday afternoon.

Madison Fire Department spokesperson Lori Wirth said an autopsy is set for Thursday.

Crews responded to a two-story apartment building fire at 6425 Bridge Road. Officials said the call came in at 3:45 p.m. when neighbors reported smoke in the building, and the fire was put out by 4:05 p.m.

The occupant of an apartment was carried into the hallway, but was unable to be resuscitated.

Hilary Andrews pulled up on the scene when the fire was still going strong.

"I came around the corner on Broadway, and there was fire shooting out in front," Andrews described. "I knew somebody was, if they were there, they were dead."

Thankfully, Andrews' parents got out safely.

"This is real, a real shocker," Andrews said.

Wirth said just as investigators were trying to get into the second-floor apartment where the fire started, more flames forced them out.

Todd Evans, who does maintenance for the building  Wednesday, said he's never seen any structure rekindle so quickly.

"Doesn't happen. That's just, I don't even know how to explain it. It just never happens," Evans said.

Evans said he just visited the apartment the day before it burned.

"Everybody knows everybody here, so you feel bad," Evans mentioned. "But tomorrow we'll start putting it back together.”

Wirth said in a situation like this, it is common to see fires rekindle.

"We've got a lot of things burning. We did chase it up into the ceiling and into the attic," Wirth said. "When you get it out, you naturally do everything in your power to overhaul and make sure that it's out. But there's a lot of debris that occurs as a result of a fire like this."

Wirth could not speak to the contents of the apartment, but said a neighbor called in the initial fire after hearing a neighbor's fire alarm going off.

Wirth said most of the damage is in the end unit where both fires began, but there is damage to the apartment next door and directly below that space. Investigators are still figuring out what caused both blazes.

Residents of second-floor units are not being allowed back into their apartments Wednesday night. Residents of the first-floor are being allowed back inside except four apartments near where the fire started.

Twenty occupants were displaced by the fire. Damage estimates are still being calculated.

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