Photo from Buffalo County Sheriff's Office

One dead after Fountain City fire




A 62-year-old Kenosha, Wis., man, Hermanda Jerral Richardson, died early this morning after escaping a house fire in Fountain City, according to the Buffalo County Sheriff’s Department. 

Dispatchers received a report of a fire on South Main Street at 12:03 a.m. today, according to the Sheriff’s Department. The Fountain City Fire Department and, ultimately, five other fire departments and two ambulance services responded.

By the time a sheriff’s deputy arrived on scene, the two occupants of the burning building — Richardson and a 25-year-old man from Fountain City — had made it out. “… Both occupants were found to be outside of the building without obvious injuries,” the sheriff’s department report states. “A short time after exiting the building, [Richardson] suffered a medical emergency and was not able to be revived despite efforts,” the report states, describing the 62-year-old’s death.

The report did not provide additional details about the medical emergency. Buffalo County Sheriff Michael Schmidtknecht said an official cause of death is pending the results of an autopsy. Citing victim privacy laws, Schmidtknecht said he could not provide additional information about the medical emergency, but said first responders did not report any sign of smoke inhalation injury.

The 25-year-old was unhurt, Schmidtknecht reported.

The fire does not appear to be suspicious; nevertheless, the Wisconsin Department of Justice and State Fire Marshall’s Office are investigating, according to the sheriff’s department.

After battling the blaze for hours in subzero temperatures — an effort that shut down Highway 35 — firefighters succeeded in saving neighboring buildings.


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