- A Rhinelander man said he "watched his home melt away," during a fire Tuesday morning just east of the city.
The man and his four-year-old son were able to get out of the trailer home unhurt. Two other members of the family weren't home at the time. But the fire completely destroyed their home and nearly everything in it.
People at the trailer park in the Town of Pelican could only watch as their neighbors' house burned to ashes.
"I just saw the smoke and the top of the flames and heard a bunch of cracking and popping. I just knew something bad was going on. I jumped up and ran out of the house," said neighbor Samantha Eades. "You could see the flames just literally top of the trailer. I just knew it had to be engulfed. I just ran out and knew I had to go see if anybody needed help."
Firefighters from the towns of Pelican and Pine Lake were too late to save the home.
"By the time they arrived here from the fire station, which is rather close, the building was fully engulfed, and the roof was collapsed already," said Rev. Norman Peterson, the Pelican Deputy Fire Chief.
The man inside the house said he first saw fire coming from under the couch, but he doesn't know what started it. Firefighters also don't know yet. But they did say the structure of the home made the fire more difficult to put out.
"This has a metal roof, and it was already collapsed, so now, all of the things that are burning are underneath the metal roof," Peterson said. "It's a little tougher that way."
Neighbors in the trailer park were already trying to help the family. One neighbor came out to offer a pair of shoes to the man who escaped the house, who only had socks on his feet.