NEW GLARUS (WKOW) -- A devastating New Years for a family in New Glarus.
They lost their home, and their business after a fire early Sunday morning. But the community is responding.
Kris Baumgartner, co-owner of Toffler's Bar and Grill in New Glarus, says it was Saturday evening when, "All of a sudden, we saw the fire department, and we saw the smoke coming out of the building."
Her restaurant is right across the street from Kleeman's Bar and Grill in New Glarus. Fire Chief Dave Anderson tells 27 News the fire started in the apartment above the bar around midnight. He says the owner lives in the apartment above the bar with his family. The owner, Greg Kleeman, noticed the fire in the apartment and got everyone out safely from the bar. One person was taken to the hospital and released after inhaling smoke.
Neighbors say his children were not home at the time. Firefighters from New Glarus and numerous surrounding departments worked throughout the night to control the blaze.
Sunday morning, the department was concerned for the structure's safety, and knocked down the building entirely, destroying the Kleeman family's belongings, their home, and their business.
Baumgartner says, "It was very scary, I tell you, it feels like there's a hole in our community. We're a very close-knit community, so it's very sad."
Neighbors and the Red Cross responded instantly, including owners at Toffler's across the street. They have a Friends of the Kleeman Family box sitting in the bar, already overflowing with donations of clothing and household items for the Kleemans. On the bar's facebook page, message after message, page.. after page of condolences and people offering donation after donation for the family.
A spokesperson for the Kleemans says they are staying with family. He says they're grateful for the overwhelming show of support.
Friends have set up donation boxes in New Glarus and in surrounding communities for the family.
Here's a list of the places they've set up as drop-off locations:
You can also make monetary donations to Kleeman Family Benefit Fund, c/o Union Bank & Trust, P.O. Box 639, New Glarus, WI 53574.
NEW GLARUS (WKOW) -- Fire destroyed Kleeman's Bar and Grill in New Glarus overnight.
Fire Chief Dave Anderson tells 27 News they got the call around midnight. He says the owner also lives in the upstairs apartment, where the fire began.
The owner got all customers out of the restaurant safely. Fire Departments from New Glarus, Mt. Horeb, Monroe, Monticello, Belleville, and Blanchardville all responded to the call. One resident was taken to the hospital with smoke inhalation and was released.
Chief Anderson says as a safety precaution, fire crews decided the building was structurally unsound, so they made the choice to "push over the building."
The American Red Cross responded early this morning to help the family of five that lived above the bar and grill.
The commercial building and the single family residence located above was destroyed along with all the family's belongings.
The Red Cross is assisting the family with food, clothing and winter garments and medical assistance and equipment. The Red Cross will continue to work with the family to assist them in their recovery.