A quick response & efficient use of firefighting skills is being credited with saving a home in the Town of Brussels Tuesday afternoon. At 2:10PM, the Brussels-Union-Gardner fire department was sent to the Rebecca Schmelzer home at 1141 County C after the occupant called 911 to report a chimney fire & smoke in the house. Fire Chief Curt Vandertie said the first units on the scene couldn’t see smoke or fire from the outside, but once inside the structure it became obvious that there was a serious problem. When firemen got to the second level, they found that the heat in the chimney was so intense that it burned out covers over holes where pipes were once connected to the chimney. Between the flames & the embers falling to the floor, a vacuum cleaner nearby ignited & melted, emitting thick, black smoke. Chief Vandertie said the heating unit made what was a difficult fire all the more difficult…[audio:http://wdor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/N86.mp3|titles=Chief Vandertie]
Chief Vandertie said fire crews had to take down some wall sections as part of the effort to get at the fire…[audio:http://wdor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/N87.mp3|titles=Chief Vandertie]
The chief noted that a matter of minutes was the difference between saving the structure & significant damage…[audio:http://wdor.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/N88.mp3|titles=Chief Vandertie]
No one was injured & the occupant got out with pets that had been in the home. About 18 to 20 firefighters responded to the fire call, Southern Door provided mutual aid, Door County emergency services was on hand & the Door County sheriff’s department provided traffic control. During the course of the firefighting operation, the B-U-G fire department was informed of a three car crash a short distance away. Chief Vandertie sent one of his units & a Southern Door truck to the scene of the accident. No injuries were reported. Fire crews cleared the scene about two hours after the initial call came in.