Boy dead after north side house fire

CREATED Oct 6, 2012

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MILWAUKEE - A Milwaukee Fire Department official says a seven-year-old boy has died after a pair of neighboring houses caught fire on Milwaukee's north side.

Milwaukee Deputy Fire Chief Jack Christianson told Newsradio 620 WTMJ's Michele Fiore that the fire happened at about 3:15 a.m. near the corner of North 23rd Street and West Auer Avenue.

"It's the worst thing that can happen to a family.  I don't know how you get over something like that," said Christianson.

"We found two houses fully involved in the fire.  We made an attempt to get into both of the houses...but were pushed back by the volume of the fire...at a point where the fire was knocked down sufficiently to enter, we entered...we did an extensive search and found a young child on the second floor (of one of the houses)."

According to preliminary information Christianson received from the scene, an adult and three other children were inside the home where the child was found dead.  Those people made it out safely.  Investigators believe a babysitter may have left something sitting on a stove, and those flames spread to the rest of the home. 

Christianson told Fiore that Milwaukee Fire and Police investigators were searching for more details on the cause.

"We're not really sure of the source of the fire, but it appears the fire began in one house and extended to another house."

An adult was inside that second house and safely escaped the fire with his dogs.  He lost almost everything, but says, "The house next door there was a life lost, so thats more important than any materialistic things."

We're told the Red Cross has offered its assistance to both families.  

No word yet if the home had working smoke detectors.