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Avoid heating hazardsSubmitted: 01/05/2014
Story By Lauren Stephenson


RHINELANDER - Health officials urge people to stay indoors the next few days to avoid health problems caused by frigid temperatures.

But staying inside your home can be dangerous if you don't heat it properly.

The most common cold weather emergencies Rhinelander firefighters respond to are fires caused by portable heaters.

But it's not just the heaters that cause fires.

It's the extension cords used to power them.

"People overuse them. They join them together. In fact, we recommend if you need an extension cord to buy a power strip. That's got the circuit breaker built in to it so if the appliance were to overheat, the circuit breaker would trip," said Rhinelander Fire Department Deputy Chief Craig Metz.

People using portable heaters should place them in the middle of a room to avoid a fire hazard.

They shouldn't run extension cords through doorways.

The cords can bend, causing them to wear down.

Firefighters don't respond to as many chimney or oven fires as they did a few years ago.

New furnaces and the ability for more people to have heat through heating assistance programs have helped reduce the use of ovens and fires.

But a furnace can still pose a danger.

"You want to make sure the intake and the exhaust on your furnace is kept clean. We see that quite a bit where the snow banks will block off the exhaust of the furnace," explained Metz.

Exhaust can build up, creating deadly carbon monoxide levels if the snow isn't cleared.

Firefighters say now is a perfect time to check your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to be sure they're working.

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 IN OTHER NEWS
What We're Working OnSubmitted: 08/29/2016

- Tonight on Newswatch 12:

Teachers at Arbor Vitae-Woodruff Elementary School are learning how to respond if an active shooter comes into the school.

Plus, we'll tell you why Merrill Sheet Metals is giving away a free furnace to someone in the community.

We'll bring you the details on these stories and more tonight on Newswatch 12 - news from where you live.

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LINCOLN COUNTY - A Wausau man needed to go to the hospital after an ATV crash in Lincoln County.

Deputies and firefighters were called to the Town of Harrison Saturday afternoon about 1:15.

A 40-year-old Wausau man had been hurt in an ATV crash on County Highway B near Ski Hill Road.

The man was brought to Saint Mary's Hospital in Rhinelander, where he was listed in good condition as of Sunday night.

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MADISON - The University of Wisconsin-Madison is the nation's top party school, again.

The Princeton Review's 2017 edition of the "The Best 381 Colleges" says West Virginia is second, followed by the University of Illinois, which was the top party school last year.

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MILWAUKEE - A New Jersey woman who was hit by a baseball during batting practice before a Brewers game in 2014 has now sued the team.

Dana Morelli of Glendora, New Jersey, claims the Brewers and their insurance company were negligent because they didn't provide an adequate barrier. The 47-year-old says they also didn't give fans proper warning about the danger of foul balls.

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MCNAUGHTON - After almost seven hours of fighting fire Saturday night, a fire chief calls a house just north of Rhinelander likely a total loss.

Newbold Fire Chief Mark Fetzer said crews got the call around 10:30 p.m. Saturday about a house filling with smoke on Spider Lake Road.

Newbold and Pine Lake Fire Departments were the first to arrive.

According to the Pine Lake Fire Rescue Facebook page, the fire was on the second floor. Firefighters first went in the house to try to put out the fire but had to put it out from the outside because the roof started falling in.  

Fetzer called it a "persistent" and "stubborn" fire because the house had several layers to its roof. 

Crews called in mutual aid from several surrounding fire departments including Crescent, Pelican, Nokomis, Rhinelander , Lake Tomahawk, Minocqua, Woodruff, Little Rice and Cassian. Crews used the Pelican Fire Department ladder truck to help get the fire out. 

Fetzer said no one was hurt, but according to the Pine Lake Fire Rescue Facebook page, two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion on scene. 

Fetzer said Newbold Fire will investigate the cause of the fire, and as of right now it does not appear to be suspicious.




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MADISON - The state of Wisconsin paid an estimated $9.7 million in one-time bonuses or various pay increases for state workers in fiscal year 2016.

An analysis by the Wisconsin State Journal found the payments went to 4,638 workers, roughly 15 percent of the state's workforce.

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LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Sunday morning, Lac du Flambeau welcomed a new event to the community.

The first Carry the Torch 5K and kids' run took place at the Lake of the Torches Casino.

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