News: Curtiss (Fire Fatalities - 27 Jul 2011)

Contact: Robert Lipprandt




Surnames: Backus, Lauersdorf, Schultz


----Source: The Tribune - Phonograph (Abbotsford, Clark Co., Wisconsin) Wednesday, July 27, 2011, page




Deadly blaze started near front porch. Story by Ben Schultz.


Investigation is continuing into the fatal house fire that killed two people during the early hours of July 20.


Shortly after midnight, a 911 call was received of a house fire at 1241 N. Meridian Street in the village of Curtiss. Firefighters responded, dining the front half of the house fully engulfed in flames. 


Initial investigation indicated the fire started in the area of the front porch of the residence. The victims were awakened by the family dog and the odor of smoke.


Melvin Lauersdorf, 79, was able to escape out a back door and summon a neighbor for help. Melvin’s wife, Sandra Lauersdorf, 75, and daughter Debra Lauersdorf, 52, were not able to exit the residence and were later located by fire fighters inside the residence.


Investigation is continuing into this tragic incident. Foul play is not suspected.


Jim Backus, chief deputy with the Clark County Sherriff’s Department, said investigators are unsure if severe weather and lightning were part of the cause of the fire.


"It’s too early to say yet," he said. "It’s not being ruled out."


The Owen-Withee-Curtiss Fire Department along with the Owen-Withee, Dorchester and Colby ambulances, responded to the scene.


On the morning of July 20, a representative of the State Fire Marshal’s Office as well as the incident command vehicle from Clark County Emergency Management were on the scene.



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