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Thursday

September 2014

18

Smoke detector saves a life and a home in Lisbon

Early detection avoids tragedy in Lisbon

Town of Lisbon - Christopher Borchardt, 31, was asleep in his second-floor apartment early Monday, Feb. 11, when he sensed an alarm buzzing in his ear.

He thought it was the motion detection system that protected the boat rental and bait shop below. When he went downstairs to investigate, he discovered the kitchen engulfed in smoke.

That's when he realized the alarm buzzing in his ear had been a smoke detector.

Borchardt rushed to a neighbor's house, awoke them, asked them to call 911 and then headed back to rescue his dog, a Hungarian vizsla named Greco Roman. Borchardt is a wrestling coach.

"Greco is family. We do everything together," Borchardt said.

Borchardt, who could barely see in the house because of the thick smoke, took a deep breath and scurried up the stairs to the dog on the second floor.

He grabbed Greco by collar, took took another deep breath and raced down the stairs. As Borchardt escaped out the front door, a Waukesha County Sheriff's Department squad pulled up in front of the house at N95 W26498 Highway Q (County Line Road).

"I could hear the fire truck's sirens coming," he said.

Although the home is about four miles from the nearest fire station, it took Lisbon's paid-on-call volunteers less than 13 minutes to respond with the first truck from the Good Hope Road Fire Station.

Before it was over, about a half-dozen Lake Country fire departments were involved, including firefighters from Sussex and Merton.

It was not the ideal place to be fighting a fire on a dark, cold winter night. The narrow two-story home was built to fit between the shoreline of Lake Five and the curved embankment of the highway above.

There was little room to operate on the slightly embanked curve of the two-lane road that nearly encircled the house.

Sheriff's deputies closed County Line Road between Lake Five Road and Highway 164.

Firefighters determined the blaze began in the basement.

One crew attacked the fire from an exposed basement on the lake side of the home, while another crew attacked the fire from the interior of the first floor on the road side of the home.

There is always a concern about enough water, according to the chief.

There were three large folding portable tanks, each with a capacity of about 3,000 gallons of water, set up along the road. However, the tanks could only hold about half of their capacity because they were sitting on angle on the curved embankment.

For a reserve water supply, firefighters pumped water out of the Bark River near a culvert on Plainview Road, nearly four miles away, and hauled it to the scene.

After the fire, Borchardt publicly thanked and praised the department.

"I just want to thank them for everything they did. They got there as quickly as they could, and they saved the house," he said.

Borchardt and Lisbon Fire Chief Doug Brahm said most of the damage was to the interior of the house, particularly in the basement and kitchen. They said the structure and exterior of the house are sound.

"This is a good story about what difference smoke detectors can make. Early detection and quick response are everything. Because he had a smoke detector, he was able to save his life, and we were able to save the home," the chief concluded.

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