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Onalaska police rescue woman from apartment fire

Published On: Apr 09 2013 06:38:18 PM CDT
Updated On: Apr 08 2013 06:20:40 PM CDT
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WKBT, News8000.com

ONALASKA, Wis. -

Two Onalaska police officers rescued a woman from an apartment fire early Monday morning.

When officers arrived on scene at about 4 a.m., a group of people were standing outside the Pinedale Apartments building at 501 13th Ave. South. They told officers they could hear screams calling for help coming from inside.

Onalaska police say after checking for active flames, Officers Shawn Colgan and Justin Kingery forced open Patricia Jacobs' apartment door and found thick, black smoke. Police say she was trapped and unable to move. Officers Colgan and Kingery were able to reach Jacobs and pulled her to safety. 

Onalaska firefighters provided medical care for Jacobs until Tri-State Ambulance arrived on scene. Jacobs was transported to Gundersen Lutheran for non-life-threatening injuries and has been treated and released. Officers Colgan and Kingery were evaluated for smoke inhalation at Gundersen Lutheran and were released.

The Onalaska Fire Department says a single fire sprinkler head was able to put out the fire, causing minimal damage to one of the apartment units. Fire crews were able to ventilate the smoke from the hallway and apartment unit, which is where the fire started. Firefighters say one unit had smoke and water damage and two other units had minor water damage.

"This is a perfect example of the life safety benefits of a residential sprinkler system," said Onalaska Assistant Fire Chief Troy Gudie. "The single spinkler head quickly activated extingishing the fire while at the same time it activated the buildings fire alarm notifying residents to evacuate."

The American Red Cross was also on scene to help people that had water damage in their apartment. The people living in the building were able to go back in Monday morning.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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