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Former dry cleaner building site Tosa's second structure fire in 12 hours

Nov. 23, 2011

Fire broke out this afternoon in a long-vacant building that the city has targeted for redevelopment.

The Fire Department was called to the former dry cleaner facility, 2578 Wauwatosa Ave., at 1:06 p.m. When crews arrived, fire was found burning the building exterior and flames quickly grew and spread into the structure.

The initial damage estimate was $30,000. There was fire damage to the exterior and the hallway and doors and windows had to be forced open to gain entry, Deputy Fire Chief James Case said.

The fire was quickly extinguished, which limited the damage, he said.

The city has been pursuing foreclosure on the former dry cleaner property, which has been the subject of many complaints by neighbors who say it's an eyesore, so it can proceed with environmental assessment and clean up.

Case said the cause of the fire is undetermined but that "there is nothing to indicate that this was foul play."

This was the second structure fire to ignite in Wauwatosa on Wednesday. At 3:30 a.m., a garage in the 8000 block of Chestnut Street caught fire. The cause of the fire and dollar amount of property damage has not yet been determined, but the garage was totally destroyed and a heavy equipment hauler came in to remove the remnants.

"It has been a busy day for us," Case said.

Brookfield, Elm Grove and West Allis fire departments staffed the three local stations while Wauwatosa firefighters extinguished the afternoon fire. They filled in responding to a car fire on the freeway and a fire alarm at Froedtert Hospital.

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