Fire claims lives of two Falls children


TWO CHILDREN DIED in an evening fire at this home at 507 Western Ave. in Sheboygan Falls Tuesday. — Review photo by Jeff Pederson TWO CHILDREN DIED in an evening fire at this home at 507 Western Ave. in Sheboygan Falls Tuesday. — Review photo by Jeff Pederson Two children, ages 11 and 7, died in a tragic evening house fire at 507 Western Ave. in Sheboygan Falls Tuesday.

During a morning news conference on Wednesday, Sheboygan Falls Police Chief and Director of Public Safety Steve Riffel said members of the Sheboygan Falls Police and Fire Department responded to the fire at approximately 9 p.m. on Tuesday night.

Riffel reported that firefighters arrived to find thick black smoke coming from the upstairs windows of the home.

He noted that the 9-year-old child escaped to a neighbor’s house and called 911 after being awoken by the 11 year old, who yelled “fire, fire.”

After helping to escort the 9 year old out of the house, the 11 year old then went back into the home to attempt to save two siblings in an upstairs room, ages 7 and 10.


DURING A PRESS CONFERENCE on Wednesday, Sheboygan Falls Police Chief and Director of Public Safety Steve Riffel discusses a house fire, which claimed the lives of two children, ages 11 and 7, and left a third hospitalized in critical condition, at 507 Western Ave. in Sheboygan Falls Tuesday. — Review photo by Steve Ottman DURING A PRESS CONFERENCE on Wednesday, Sheboygan Falls Police Chief and Director of Public Safety Steve Riffel discusses a house fire, which claimed the lives of two children, ages 11 and 7, and left a third hospitalized in critical condition, at 507 Western Ave. in Sheboygan Falls Tuesday. — Review photo by Steve Ottman “Very preliminary information is that the 11 year old was able to wake the 9 year old and give a warning to flee the residence. The 9 year old did, believing the others were following,” Riffel said. “The 11 year old returned to assist the other two still upstairs, but none were able to flee the home.”

According to Riffel, firefighters entered the home, but had to deal with greatly limited visibility due to the heavy smoke and flames.

The firefighters used thermo- imaging cameras to locate and remove the three children from the home.

Riffel said all three children were located in an upstairs bedroom.

The children were transported to St. Nicholas Hospital in Sheboygan, where the 7 year old died.

The 11 year old and 10 year old were transferred to Children’s Hospital in Wauwatosa, where the 11 year old died in the early hours Wednesday morning.

The 10 year old remained in critical condition as of early Wednesday afternoon.

The parents were not home at the time of the fire.

“We do know that the parents were not at home at the time of the fire,” Riffel said. “We have unconfirmed reports which have indicated the parents may have been at a Bible study.”

Riffel noted smoke alarms were working in the home at the time of the fire.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office was called in to assist local fire officials at the scene.

Riffel also noted the Sheboygan Falls school liaison officer will be available to the Sheboygan Falls School District for counseling.

During Wednesday morning’s news conference, Riffel refrained from releasing additional information about the children, including names, pending notification of the family.

Riffel expressed sympathy for the victims’ family on behalf of the community.

“The family and the community is hurting,” Riffel said. “I, along with the members of the Sheboygan Falls fire and police departments, as well as the Sheboygan Falls community as a whole, wish to express our deepest sympathy to the family, friends and neighbors that this incident has impacted so tragically. Our sincere thoughts and prayers are with them in this most difficult time.”


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