OSHKOSH, Wis. (WFRV) – An early Sunday morning fire’s cause remains unsolved, but the neighbors near the Mt. Vernon St. home know one thing: it was a startling experience.
The fire began in a garage before 2 a.m. That’s when Oshkosh resident Justine Oberman began smelling a lot of smoke, despite all of her windows being closed and living two houses away across the street.
“The whole area was just completely filled with smoke, really thick smoke,” Oberman said, who has lived in Oshkosh for three years. “It was pretty scary, we were trying to get the next-door neighbors, with their kids and animals and everything, to come over by us.”
Oberman sprinted across the street to wake up her neighbors and their kids, who also have four dogs and five cats. The humans and pets safely evacuated their house, which was next door to the one on fire, which the fire had spread to from the separate garage.
“I thought I was having a dream, the bedroom was full of lights,” Oshkosh resident of 28 years Robert Thayer said. “Woke up at like 2 a.m. and the bedroom was full of flashing blue lights. Looking out the window it’s like holy cow, there were flames almost as high as the second story of the house coming out of the garage.”
Despite the size of the fire, it did not take long to put out.
“It was burning well. We arrived on scene, and flames pretty much went from the base of the garage to the eves of the neighboring house right there, so it was pretty involved when we arrived on scene,” Oshkosh Fire Department Battalion Chief Jason Shikoski said. “It only took approximately 10 minutes to put the main body of the fire out, but then we did extensive overhaul work after that to make sure we didn’t have any other hotspots still going.”
Once the building was cleared, the investigators began looking for the cause, and still are.
“They’re looking for all potential sources of ignition, any kind of heat source, electrical to anything suspicious and anything in between,” Shikoski said. “We’re looking at all avenues, so if anybody has any footage of anything that they deem abnormal in the neighborhood of that hour, then please contact the Oshkosh Police Department.”
There is no timeline yet for the investigation, as multiple causes remain possible.
“Everything really is on the board until we can definitively cross it off.”