1 dead in fire at Lake Shore Tower Apartments in Cudahy, 50 residents displaced


A 56-year-old woman has been found dead after a double-alarm fire broke out at the Lake Shore Tower Apartments on S. Lake Drive in Cudahy on Sunday morning August 16. Another 50 residents were displaced – and a firefighter was taken to hospital for heat exhaustion treatment, along with “several” residents.

The American Red Cross said it was helping people in seven units, “providing families with assistance with short-term shelter and immediate needs, as well as access to basic mental health and health resources. (like prescription refills or glasses), “while” continuing to connect with any residents who cannot return to the building to see where further help may be needed. “

“I started to smell smoke in my apartment, so I immediately thought of the five things I should take with me in case my apartment grew,” said Jennifer Pelzek.

Pelzek said a strange crackle woke her up on Sunday morning.

“The hallway was starting to get smoky, the smoke detectors were all off,” Pelzek said.

“When you looked up I could see smoke coming out,” said Erika Blija.

Authorities say the fire first started around 7.15 am Firefighters found thick black smoke from an upper unit. Many residents had already evacuated, while many others were struggling to get through the smoke to get out. Several residents were helped to get to safety. Some took shelter in place until they could be helped by the firefighters.

The fire was contained to a single unit on the 10th floor, however, other apartments nearby suffered smoke and water damage.

Cudahy Fire Chief Dan Mayer said the blaze appears to have started in the kitchen or living room of a single apartment – and spread to one bedroom. The cause of the fire is still under investigation. Officials said the state fire marshal was called in to investigate.

Fire at Lake Shore Tower Apartments, Cudahy (Photo credit: Bryan Bruno)

Chief Mayer said there were multiple challenges in dealing with this fire. The first was that it was on the 10th floor – beyond what ladder trucks can reach. Second, the parking lot was full of vehicles and did not allow much access for emergency vehicles. But the chief said the biggest challenge on Sunday was the heat – as evidenced by an Oak Creek firefighter treated for heat exhaustion.

Fire at Lake Shore Tower Apartments, Cudahy

Fire at Lake Shore Tower Apartments, Cudahy

Fire at Lake Shore Tower Apartments, Cudahy

The fire was declared extinguished around 8:30 am. Fifteen departments helped Cudahy fight it.

The fire chief said that to the best of his knowledge the building only has smoke detectors and alarms in the common areas of the apartments and does not believe the units have sprinklers.

Cudahy Mayor Thomas Pavlic posted the following statement on Facebook:

“I am sad to report that a resident of Cudahy died in a fire this morning at the Lake Shore Tower Apartments located on College & Lake Dr.

“My condolences (sp) go out to the victim and his family.

“Many thanks to our local fire and police departments who were on the scene within minutes of the call. Thanks to all surrounding departments who responded in Milwaukee County and as far as Racine County. I’m sure I’m going to miss a fire department or two, but saw fire departments responding from South Milwaukee, St. Francis, Oak Creek, Franklin, Greendale, Greenfield, Wauwatosa, West Allis, Milwaukee, the North Shore and Raymond Fire Department.

“The Cudahy Police Department thanks the South Milwaukee, Oak Creek, St. Francis Helping Services as well as the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Department.

“Thank you to the Milwaukee Fire Bell Club for providing food and water to the first responders. And finally, I can’t leave out one of our local residents who distributed water to residents exposed by fire.

“It was an unfortunate event, but the people of Cudahy greatly appreciate the excellent response and cooperation.

“If we get any information on how best to help the residents who have been displaced by the fire, I will release it.”


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