Beaver Dam Fire Chief Says Deputy Put His Life In ‘Peril’ During Fatal Fire

(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 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.