No one was injured in an apartment fire that caused heavy fire and water damage to the entire building at 3028 S. 22nd Street in La Crosse Monday afternoon.
The fire department says the fire, which was called in at about 3 p.m., was caused by grease on the stove.
La Crosse firefighters told News 8 most of the fire damage is on the second floor. All 16 apartments are affected. "We had to hit the exterior with fire immediately because we were unable to get into the apartment without doing some defensive firefighting first, then the crews were able to get into the apartment, into the neighboring apartments and get it out," said Division Chief Jeff Murphy from the La Crosse Fire Department.
Murphy says there is severe fire damage on the 2nd floor with smoke and water damage on the 1st floor.
Kert Groth, who lives nearby, smelled smoke and saw flames coming from the building. He told a neighbor to call 911 and then started alerting the residents. "I just started at this door and pounded and yelled fire and ran as quick as I could to get as many as I could out," said Groth.
During the process he noticed a father and young child stuck on the second floor. "We had him kick the board out, hand the baby down," said Groth, "as a father he did a big thing today too, cause I remember him looking at me and saying, 'Are you sure you got my baby?'"
Residents will be out of their apartments for at least Monday night. The American Red Cross is on scene to assist those displaced. "Right now we're kind of seeing where everybody is at, if they do have a place to stay, we're probably going to look at maybe 15 different hotel rooms," said Shirley Stinson from the American Red Cross.
Thanks to News 8 viewer Zachary Quackenbush for sending us some pictures.