Dad, 2 kids escape large Portage house fire

(WMTV/Jason Rice)
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PORTAGE, Wis. (WMTV) -- A father and two young children managed to escape a large fire that consumed their Portage home Wednesday morning.

Heavy smoke and flames could still be seen more than a half-hour after firefighters were first called to this house, in the 900 block of W. Wisconsin Steet, shortly after 9 a.m. Multiple other fire departments were called in to assist.

"He did have what I witnessed was singed hair from going back in, so it was hot when he was inside the residence, and he had some hair that was singed,” Portage Police Chief Keith Klafke said.

After getting himself and the kids to safety, the father went back into the home to try to save the family, Police Chief Keith Klafke said. The heat from the blaze forced him out before he could rescue their pet, however the dog got out on its own and was corralled by neighbors.

“I just came home here and I saw the smoke come out the top of the house, and I saw the homeowner carrying his two kids out. So I ran over and I said 'what can we do?,'" neighbor Daniel Nett said.

Nett, a neighbor who had come across the street, took in the children when they left the house.

"There’s nothing we could do and his hair was singed, he’s trying to get the dog and that wasn’t happening, so I said 'let’s grab the two kids and run them over to my house, get somewhere safe and warm,'" Nett said.

That's when Nett and the father teamed up and took action.

"So I grabbed one, he grabbed one, got them to them house here, seemed to do the trick because everyone was safe after that," Nett said. "Then they were just watching the fire, [emergency crews] took him to the hospital apparently.”

The father, whose name has not been released, was reportedly taken to a nearby hospital to be checked out for smoke inhalation. Becker noted his hair was singed by the fire from his attempt to find the dog.

"[I] brought them in the house, gave them snacks and some orange juice and they were watching out the front window here, they were really good about it, really good,” Nett said.

A space heater was running at the time and may have sparked the fire, which began on the first floor of the two-story building.

No injuries have been reported.