Fire heavily damages 8th Street apartment in Merrill


An apartment on E. 8th St. in Merrill sustained heavy damage on Dec. 5, 2022. Merrill Fire Department responded to an initial report that a couch was on fire, resulting in the structure fire. Photo courtesy of Merrill Fire Department.

On Dec. 5, 2022, at 11:21 p.m., the Merrill Fire Department (MFD) was dispatched to an apartment at 1210 E. 8th St. in Merrill for a report of a structure fire, with the caller saying her couch was on fire.
Engine 61, Truck 63, and Medic 62 responded immediately with lights and sirens, according to a press release from the MFD. “While enroute, additional resources were requested, including a general alarm fire for off-duty Merrill Firefighters, Tomahawk EMS to respond to the scene to evaluate the apartment occupant, Wisconsin Public Service for gas and electric, the City of Merrill Water Utility, Pine River Fire Department, Russell Fire Department, Wausau Fire Department, and Corning Fire Department. Fire units were also assisted on scene by the Merrill Police Department.”
By the time the MFD arrived, the fire had advanced significantly with “heavy fire and smoke showing from the south west upper apartment,” the MFD release said. “Units were initially advised to operate in a defensive mode.”
Following a building walk around and disconnection of gas on the west side of the building, “a single 1 3/4 inch handle line was deployed and put into service with tank water from Engine 61,” the release said. “Water was applied through exterior windows on the south and west side of the structure to the involved apartment.” “Firefighting operations transitioned to an offensive mode after the fire was knocked down from the exterior of the structure. Additionally, a second 1 3/4 inch hand line was deployed and put into service.”
MFD said the fire was successfully contained to the apartment of origin, but that apartment did sustain heavy damage.
“All Merrill Fire units were clear of the scene and back in service at approximately 03:00 AM. Approximately 3,000 gallons of water and 3 gallons of foam were used to extinguish the fire.”
“During salvage and overhaul a cat was located in an adjacent apartment and was reunited with its owner,” the release said. However, a cat from the apartment where the fire originated was still missing at the time the press release was issued.
“The cause of the fire is still under investigation,” the MFD said.
“This is the third structure fire in the MFD response area since Thanksgiving which means there are also three red bulbs on the department’s fire prevention wreath,” Merrill Fire Chief Josh Klug said. “The MFD participates in the annual Keep the Wreath Green campaign which promotes fire prevention, especially from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day.”

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