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Racine Fire Department responds to pair of Saturday structure fires

Racine Fire Department responds to pair of Saturday structure fires

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RACINE — The Racine Fire Department dealt with two unrelated structure fires Saturday night, one in a commercial building at 5626 21st. St. and the other in a duplex at 1637 S. Memorial Drive. One person suffered a minor injury as a result of the Memorial Drive blaze, the Fire Department said in a news release.

21st Street

The Racine Fire Department was dispatched to 5626 21st St. at 6:26 p.m. Saturday for a report of smoke inside of the building.

While investigating the smoke, a small fire was discovered by Engine 5 along the south wall of the 100,000-square-foot building. The fire was extinguished and all fire units cleared the scene before 8:30 p.m.

There are no injuries to report associated with this incident. The Racine Police Department provided traffic control and scene security. The damage estimate is $10,000, which includes $2,000 damage to the building and $8,000 damage to the contents of the building, according to the news release.

The fire was reported by an employee of the Journal Times who had arrived to process paperwork. The employee discovered the smoke condition in the building and called 911.

Quick thinking and prompt notification of 911 limited the damage potential of this fire, officials said.

The cause of the fire was traced back to a faulty light switch located along the south wall of the building.

Memorial Drive

The Fire Department responded to 1637 S. Memorial Drive at 11:19 p.m. Saturday for a fire in the downstairs kitchen of a duplex.

Engine 6 arrived on scene and extinguished the fire using a 2.5-gallon pressurized water fire extinguisher.

There was a minor injury to a first-floor tenant’s relative, who was driven in a personal vehicle to an urgent-care facility for medical attention. No injuries to firefighters were reported during this incident and Racine Police assisted with traffic control and scene security.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation. The origin of the fire was in the kitchen but was not related to cooking.

Citizens are reminded to exit their homes when a fire occurs and meet at a predetermined meeting spot so everyone can be accounted for, fire officials said. During this incident, all first-floor residents met in the front yard and were accounted for which enabled first-arriving crews to swiftly extinguish the blaze.

Damage estimates for this fire are $30,000 damage to the structure and $5,000 damage to the belongings of the tenants.


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Dennis Wiser wore many hats in his 70 years. He was a City of Racine alderman from 2010-2018 and became the first person to serve three consecutive terms as Racine City Council president in at least 70 years. Then from July 2017 to November 2017 he served as interim after John Dickert stepped down, and before Cory Mason was elected and sworn in. He served on the Racine Unified School Board for 12 years, from 2008 to 2020. Wiser was a retired math teacher who had also previously served as the executive director of the Racine Education Association, the Racine teachers’ union.

On Wednesday, he died unexpectedly.

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