Blaze in student neighborhood causes $90,000 in damage
A fire Thursday night at 106 Catherine St., an area many UW-Eau Claire students live in, has displaced the three men who lived there and caused extensive damage to the house.
Paul Sveum and Kyle Biolek, former Eau Claire students, and their roommate Jason Skrtic were not home when the fire occurred at about 7:30 p.m.
Skrtic, a student at Chippewa Valley Technical College, was at work when police called him to tell him his house was on fire.
Skrtic said after he got over the shock, his first thought was to call his mom.
Jody Skrtic, Jason’s mom, said her initial reaction was that she was glad no one was hurt.
“Everything else is replaceable,” she said.
Two dogs escaped from the house, but a lizard died in the fire.
Sveum and Biolek arrived home at about 9 p.m. to find their block filled with police and fire officials.
Both men said they were in shock when they saw what was happening.
All tenants were relocated by the Red Cross Thursday night.
After that, the men said they would probably stay with friends.
The Fire Department was notified of the fire at 7:38 p.m. by a neighbor. The cause of the fire is unknown, but started in the basement, according a report by the Fire Department. The fire is still under investigation.
The Fire Department reported an estimated $90,000 damage.
Paul Wiersgalla, 1711 Rust St., owner of the house, said he was in a frenzy when the police called him with the news of the fire at the home he rented.
“I just grabbed my jacket and ran out of the house,” Wiersgalla said.
“Sure enough, I took one step outside and fell down on the ice.
“That was just my luck that day.”