Tomah community stepping up to help those affected most by Sunday morning fire

The fire destroyed at least two buildings and a cause is still being determined

TOMAH, Wis. (WKBT) – Several downtown businesses and apartments went up in smoke early Sunday morning in downtown Tomah.

At least two buildings are a total loss.

“Your heart sinks,” Chasing Daylight Animal Shelter president and co-founder Gina Mason said. “You feel compassionate for the animals. You feel compassionate for the people.”

Nobody was killed in the fire, but several pets are missing.

“We were notified that there are two cats and two dogs that are unaccounted for,” Mason said.

Mason has some intriguing news, though.

“We have a couple possible sightings of cats,” Mason said. “So, we are actively trying to live trap them…We’re very optimistic that we can get the animals out.”

But the people who lost their apartments to the fire are still looking for a place to stay.

“There’s been a family that’s been in contact with me,” Microtel Inn & Suites general manager Matthew Markin said. “And as of yesterday, we put them into a place, and it seems like they’re settled in.”

For now, that family is staying free of charge.

“There’s no worry about money,” Markin said. “Just come on in, and we’ll get you a place to stay. And that was well received.”

The Tomah Chamber of Commerce is turning into a temporary donation site.

“So far we have had people drop off new and slightly used items of clothing, boots, winter coats, food, pillows, couple blankets, some toothbrushes,” president and CEO Tina Thompson said.

Thompson says up to 50 items have already been donated by six people.

“It’s almost overwhelming to me, the people that want to reach out and help,” Thompson said.

Which goes to show that just by doing a little something, it can make a big difference for these families.

The Tomah Chamber of Commerce also contacted the American Red Cross, Neighbor for Neighbor Food Pantry and other organizations.

If you think you hear or see any of the missing pets, please contact Chasing Daylight Animal Shelter at (608)-374-2112.

A cause of the fire is still being determined.