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Victim of Wauwatosa fire identified

Aug. 26, 2011

Wauwatosa police have identified the man found after a fatal house fire on Aug. 18 as the adult son of an elderly woman who escaped the fire.

John Lorentz was found in a room on the second floor of a home in the 1400 block of N. 119th St. where a fire appears to have started early in the morning, according to a report by the Wauwatosa Police Department.

As firefighters made their way upstairs in dense, churning black smoke around 9 a.m., they said they heard what sounded like gunshots and fled downstairs because they thought someone was shooting at them. Authorities later determined that the sounds came from exploding ammunition for several guns, including a shotgun. Investigators found brass from spent shotgun shells on the scene.

Lorentz's mom, 74-year-old Jean L. Lorentz, told police she woke up on the first floor to a loud sound and went to check on her son. She said something seemed to be blocking the door as she tried to get in. When she cracked the door open four to six inches, she heard groaning d and felt intense heat as smoke poured out. She walked downstairs to call the Fire Department and managed to escape the fire.

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"Hidden Tosa" is a semi-regular feature where reporters Rory Linnane or Rachel Minske explore the closed down and closed off parts of Wauwatosa.

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