Carol Wautlet, a staff member in the Natural and Applied Sciences Office, sends thanks to the many UW-Green Bay friends and colleagues who have been supportive in the days since fire destroyed her family’s rural Kewaunee County home last Sunday, Jan. 27.
“Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers. Right now, we’re just trying to get through the next few steps,” Wautlet writes to co-workers. “Bless all of you for your kindness, again. All of you are TRULY what makes this job worthwhile.”
She also wants to share an important message: If fire strikes your home or workplace, don’t waste time accounting for possessions or otherwise delaying evacuation… get out immediately!
Wautlet says her two-story home was totally engulfed and destroyed within minutes. (She has the photos to prove it — see photo sequence below). Thankfully, no one was injured.
“I honestly did not think the house was going to burn,” she writes. “You really have no idea how quick it will burn. All of these pictures represent what happened in about 15 minutes.”
It is believed that the fire started in the garage at about 9 o’clock Sunday morning, while Carol and Ron Wautlet were inside the home on Country Trunk S, about four miles north of Casco.
Luxemburg Fire Chief Lew Du Chateau said in a statement that the garage was engulfed in flames when crews arrived and the fire had spread to the home’s basement, the first and second floors, and the attic. Firefighters were on the scene for about four hours. Crews from Casco, Algoma, New Franken, Brussels-Union-Gardner, and Southern Door assisted.
Carol Wautlet says initial news reports erroneously said that no one was home at the time of the blaze. She also relates to campus friends that, while she is working with insurance adjustors to assess the situation, the family lost virtually all its “stuff,” starting with vehicles in the garage and including family mementos with sentimental value. The family dog was able to escape the fire; the 15-year-old cat did not.
Friends of the family are working with the Bank of Luxemburg to set up a fund to help the Wautlets, who are temporarily staying with members of their extended family. We’ll include details on the fund as they become available, perhaps in our next issue of the LOG newsletter.
Wautlet has told friends she’ll be in and out of work sporadically for the next couple of weeks.
“I’ll check email when I’m in, (because) I obviously don’t have a computer anymore at home… or a home, now that I think of it…” She says colleagues in the NAS suite have her cell number in case anyone has an immediate or specific question or message for her.