A neighbor notified Dane County 911 Communications and the Madison Fire Department early this morning when she suspected a fire was brewing in a nearby house on the 3500 block of Blackhawk Dr. in the Village of Shorewood Hills.
She said she saw bright light believed to be flames in the basement and smoke on the first and second floors.
Engine 9 arrived first on scene at 6:15 a.m., and firefighters performed a 360-degree investigation by walking around the building to assess the location and extent of fire.
As additional companies arrived, they connected to nearby hydrants and began a coordinated fire attack from the basement and first floor. Companies were assigned to perform an aggressive interior search for occupants, as well as rooftop ventilation.
When firefighters entered the home, they encountered thick black smoke and zero visibility. As they progressed across the first floor, they noticed the floor had a "spongy" feel to it and immediately deemed unsafe. At that time, all crews backed out of the home and began a defensive attack from outside the structure.
After the visible fire was knocked down from the outside, firefighters were able to re-enter the structure and resume an interior fire attack. They cautiously avoided the partially-collapsed first floor and systematically searched for hidden fire.
Though the fire reportedly started in the basement, crews also encountered active fire in the walls of the first floor and attic.
The MFD Heavy Urban Rescue Team (HURT) was called to the scene to build a support structure for the collapsed floor.
The home was for sale, and the previous owners were no longer residing there. Nobody was inside when the fire began, and nobody - including firefighters - was injured.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Cynthia Schuster (Public Information Officer), 608-261-5539, email@example.com