Thursday, August 13, 2020
Firefighters battled a house blaze on Walrath Street in Sparta early Saturday morning. A mother and daughter were rescued but two dogs perished in the blaze. Contributed photo

Two rescued from Sparta house fire

Paramedic in critical condition after collapsing

A mother and daughter barely escaped a house fire early Saturday morning in Sparta, while one of the paramedics sent to the scene collapsed and had to be taken by helicopter to a La Crosse hospital.

The fire began sometime before 5:40 a.m. at the two-story residence located at 302 Walrath St. The home is owned by Preston Revels, who had left early that morning to go deer hunting, leaving Christina Huber and her 11-year old daughter, Dani Fowler, at home.

According to Sparta Area District Fire Chief Mike Arnold, Huber, who was sleeping in a downstairs bedroom, woke to a smoke-filled house. She called 911 and was able to get to an overhead door in the garage, which Sparta police officers and Monroe County deputies, who were the first to respond to the scene, were able to force open.

Fowler, who was in an upstairs bedroom, was on the phone with dispatchers, who told her to keep low below the smoke and guided her toward a window in the front of the house, where officers were able to rescue her using a neighbor’s ladder.

Arnold said when firefighters arrived, they were under the assumption three people were in the house, one upstairs and two downstairs. They entered the house looking for the third individual before it was confirmed there had been only two occupants and both were out of the house. It was learned that two dogs perished in the fire. 

The mother and daughter were transported to the Sparta hospital, and then to La Crosse to be treated for smoke inhalation and minor burns. They have since been released and are staying with friends or relatives.

During the fire, Dann Stamens, a paramedic with the Sparta Ambulance Service, collapsed. Arnold said he had no pulse and wasn’t breathing and was administered CPR. He was transported to Ft. McCoy where he was transferred to GundersenAIR’s helicopter, which flew him to a La Crosse hospital.

As of Monday, he was in critical condition in the ICU, but was improving, according to Arnold.

Firefighters remained on the scene for nine hours and the house is no longer habitable.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. Arnold believes the home is insured.

The fire department was on the scene for 9 hours and was assisted by the Monroe County 911 Communication Center, Sparta Police Department, Monroe County Sheriff's Department, Sparta Area Ambulance Service, State Fire Marshall's Office, DCI, Xcel Energy, Sparta Public Works Department and the Sparta Water Department.

Evans Print & Media Group

1302 River Rd.
P.O. Box 252

Sparta, WI 54656-0252

Office Number: (608) 269-3186
Fax Number: (608) 269-6876


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