One Dead in Early Morning Fire; Damages Reach $100,000 - Update

Thursday, June 21, 2012 - 4:18am

A Madison man is dead after a fire in his apartment earlier today. City of Madison Firefighters responded to 2709 Sommers Avenue on the City's east side at 3:30 this morning.

When Engine Company 3 arrived on scene, they were met by occupants evacuating the 2-story, multi-family residence. Crews encountered heavy, black smoke as they entered the building. The thick smoke prompted the use of a thermal imaging camera (TIC) to help them locate the seat of the fire. Crews traced the most intense heat to a second-floor apartment at the rear of the building.

They found a male occupant in that apartment. Medics at the scene administered CPR and transported the patient to Meriter Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Fire investigators believe the fire began in the living room of the one-bedroom apartment. The victim was found in the bedroom at the opposite end of the apartment.

There were four other occupants in the building at the time of the fire. They all escaped unharmed. Occupants say smoke alarms in the building alerted them to the fire. Investigators are working to secure the fire apartment so that all tenants may return to their residences for the night.

This is the first fire-related fatality in the City since August, 2010, when a 46-year-old woman died in a fire at 524 E. Bluff.

"Our hearts go out to the family and friends of the victim," said City of Madison Fire Chief Steve Davis. This loss is a personal tragedy for them, and a tragic event for the community at large.

The City of Madison Fire Department continues to work, through aggressive suppression tactics and innovative prevention strategies, toward a zero fire fatality rate. The results of our investigation will be used to help us stay on that path."

The structure at 2709 Sommers is also known as "Elmside," an historic site dating back to the 1860's. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

Fire investigators estimate damages to the historic structure at $100,000. The exact cause remains under investigation.


  • Lori Wirth(608) 266-5947