(Town of Westford) Beaver Dam Fire Chief Alan Mannel says it was all hands on deck in battling a blaze Thanksgiving night in the Town of Westford. Multiple agencies responded to the fatal fire on Watercress Lane around 10:30pm.
Mannel tells DailyDodge.com that fighting fires is never easy but doing so on the evening of a major holiday certainly has its challenges. He says they were not necessarily “low-staffed” on Thursday but on Thanksgiving, off-duty personnel are typically tied up with family or other hobbies, like hunting.
Mannel says “first-in crews” performed “awesome” but such holiday incidents demonstrate a need for more on-duty staffing. Eight different fire and EMS agencies provided mutual assistance to Beaver Dam.
A Dodge County Sheriff’s deputy, who was the first on scene, pulled an 82-year-old woman from the basement. She later died at the hospital; identified in multiple media outlets as Eleanor Neumann. Her husband, 92-year-old Ruben Neumann, was able to escape with non-life-threatening burns.
The deputy was treated for smoke inhalation. Chief Mannel called it a (quote) “heroic rescue at great peril” to the deputy’s own life.
The cause remains under investigation by the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office and the State Fire Marshall.