One person injured, 16 homeless as fire destroys Chestnut Avenue building

Fire at 101 S. Chestnut Ave., Green Bay Friday, Nov. 5, 2010. Scott Williams/Press-Gazette

BY DOUG SCHNEIDER • dschneid@greenbaypressgazette.com • November 5, 2010

Sixteen people are homeless tonight after a fire that raged for hours Friday, destroying a Green Bay liquor store and the apartments above it.

More than 80 firefighters from three departments battled the blaze that burned inside a two-story building housing Super Saver Liquor Store, 101 S. Chestnut Ave., on the city’s west side. At the fire’s peak, pumpers and ladder trucks were pouring an estimated 2,000 gallons of water per minute on the blaze, which sent flames and black smoke into the sky.

The cause of the 3:39 p.m. blaze remains unknown. Smoke and flames were first seen coming through a window on the southwest corner of the second floor.

Crews remained on the scene Friday night, and flames were visible through part of the roof as of 8:30 p.m. Portions of West Walnut Street, Broadway and other streets remained closed to traffic, though police hoped to open part of Broadway about 8:45. Electricity to portions of the neighborhood was shut off as crews dealt with the blaze, though power eventually was restored to all but the block of the fire scene.

One person suffered burns and had to be rescued from the building’s roof, fire officials said. The extent of that person’s injuries was not immediately clear, but did not appear serious.

“He looked like he’d been sleeping. He had half his clothes on,” said Christopher Naumann, who watched the rescue from the 117 S. Chestnut Ave. offices of On Broadway, a nearby organization where he is executive director. He said he had been in meetings when colleagues saw smoke and flames coming from the other building.

Another person escaped the building before the fire spread, Green Bay Fire Lt. Nick Craig said. Firefighters said it appeared that most of the people who live in the building were not home at the time of the blaze.

“There goes my job,” Tina Desjarlais said as she stood across the street from the building, watching it burn. She said she works at the liquor store. “It’s a very popular place and I bet all that liquor is exploding.”

The blaze prompted major responses from agencies ranging from fire and police departments to the American Red Cross.

More than 20 pieces of fire apparatus were dispatched to the scene, including trucks from Ashwaubenon, Howard and every Green Bay fire station. Fire units from departments outside the city were moved into Green Bay so the stations were staffed. 

Nine volunteers from the American Red Cross Lakeland Chapter responded to set up a warming center to offer assistance to the victims of the blaze, Red Cross spokeswoman Jody Weyers said. The organization is assisting five adults and five children.

The building is a two-story brick-and-masonry structure that once housed a dance studio upstairs.

May Vang has owned the building for 11 years and the liquor store for more than three years.

2 Responses

  1. what ages r the children so we can get things out to them would like to see what i could offer

    • Hello Sarah,

      The best way to help the American Red Cross conintue to provide for families in times of disaster is through a financial gift. We provide for people’s immediate emergency needs and then give referals to other community agencies to support with longer term needs. We do not take donations of clothing or furnature but suggest you donate to the organization that specialize in that. Thank you for your concern and if you have any questions or would like to donate call us at 920-468-8535.

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