First Arriving Network
First Arriving Network

2 Children Die, 2 Others Serious in Racine House Fire

Firefighters Lauded For Heroic Rescue Efforts

A HOUSE FIRE EARLY THURSDAY MORNING in Racine, Wisconsin, decimated a sleeping family leaving two of their four young children dead and two more in serious condition.  The 12:45 am phone call to 9-1-1 was made by the distraught mother from inside the house and she told the dispatcher that her four children were inside also.  She could hear them screaming, but could not get to them because of the fire.

Journal Times

When firefighters arrived they found an adult male in the front yard who had been brought out by a police officer, and immediately began a search for the mother and children.  The Racine Journal Times describes what happened next:

City firefighters endured 20 minutes of blistering heat and intense smoke locating and rescuing the children.

Immediately after removing the last child, Racine Fire Chief Steve Hansen said four firefighters "literally dropped from (heat) exhaustion;" they were treated at the scene, then immediately returned to the house and continued battling the blaze.  "They gave it everything that they possibly could to get those kids out of there," Hansen said. "This is an example of our firefighters going way above and beyond."

Two Racine police officers arrived on scene before firefighters and pushed down the front door to rescue Lemont Siller, 29, who the officers heard shouting from inside.

The children were transported to Wheaton-Franciscan Hospital where the two girls, age 8 and 9, died. The boys, 5 and 7, received initial emergency care before being transported to the Children’s Hospital in Wauwatosa.

Channel 6 filed this video report from the scene:


The investigators quickly determined that the fire started in a bathroom, but have not yet determined the cause.  The house had no electricity.

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