Fire damages Carlsville home of Bill and Sarah Anschutz

Firefighters able to contain blaze and save most of house

By Ramelle Bintz • • November 24, 2010

Fire broke out at the home of Bill and Sarah Anschutz at 5594 Daubner Lane north of Carlsville about 11 a.m. Wednesday, leaving a gaping hole in their roof and exposing the side of their house as temperatures outside continued to plummet.

Bill Anschutz said he worried what damage may come to the home if heat could not be restored because the home’s primary heat source was hot water heat fueled entirely by a woodburner in the basement.

By Wednesday afternoon, PortSide Builders was on the scene taking measurements to help secure the home and a backup gas boiler in the basement was being readied as an alternate fuel. An electrician had also been called to check wiring and Wisconsin Public Service also was called to restore power to the home.

Anschutz said he was outside the couple’s rural wooded home when his wife came out to tell him she could see smoke and called the fire department.

Flames were already coming from the chimney and heavy smoke from the roof with fire in the attic, Egg Harbor Fire Chief Steve Schopf said, when the Egg Harbor fire department arrived along with mutual aid from fire departments in Baileys Harbor, Ephraim, Gibraltar, Jacksonport, Sister Bay/Liberty Grove and Sturgeon Bay.

Schopf estimated the damage to be moderate and said the cause was a faulty chimney flue used by the woodburner. The home had three chimneys, he said, but only one masonry chimney was being used by the woodburner at the time of the fire. There was no visible build up when the flue was taken down, he said, but there was no way to know if it was cleared or cracked previous to the fire.

Both that flue, the chimney and much of the sidewall next to the fireplace was completely cut away by firefighters to contain the fire near the fireplace in the living room, he said. The fireplace was not being used at the time of the fire.

“We’ve been here 24 years heating with wood,” Anschutz said, “and I just had my chimney cleaned last week.”

The two-stall attached garage appeared normal and the family was able to stand in the right side of the home Wednesday afternoon while firefighters were still at the scene pulling insulation and tamping out what remained of an almost barren backside of the living room wall on the left side of the house.

“My guys did a good job,” Schopf said. “This could have gone the other way. They got aggressive and we saved his house and his possessions.”

Heavy smoke and water damage, he said, made the home unlivable but the family had insurance and opted to stay at a hotel. Red Cross assistance was available for both the family and emergency workers with two Door County volunteers providing water, Gatorade and lunch for about 50 emergency personnel.

The Door County Sheriff’s Department directed traffic nearby on Wisconsin 42 and Emergency Medical Services also responded to the call. The fire department cleared the scene at 2:37 p.m.