Thick, dark smoke rising from the fire was visible for miles around.
Thick, dark smoke rising from the fire was visible for miles around.

   A million-dollar home in the town of Ripon was considered a total loss when a fire reduced the home to rubble last week Friday.

   The fire, which Ripon Area Fire District Fire Chief Tim Saul considers one of the largest he has seen in his 35-year career, began late in the afternoon last week Friday.

   Saul explained a call came in for a structure fire at Chuck Nelson’s home, W13299 Cork Street Road, at 2:53 p.m. The call noted some of the family was trapped in the basement and others out in the barn, but when the fire department arrived about six minutes later, everyone was already was out of the home. Pets also made it out safely.

   “Once we were on our way there and I realized we had a fire — I could see it from a distance — I called a mutual aid box alarm for mutual aid help, which we already had our automatic aid coming in the first place before that,” Saul said, noting 25 fire departments were on the scene with around 100 firefighters, five fire engines, seven water tenders and a ladder truck.

   When the Ripon Area Fire District first arrived, “the fire was way ahead of us; we had fire from the lower level and it was already coming through the roof. We were behind the 8-ball already,” Saul said.

   Read the full story, including the many factors against the firefighters as they tried to combat the fire, in the Dec. 26, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.