Wausau Pilot & Review

Occupants inside two apartments were safely evacuated Friday from a structure fire in Merrill but two cats died in the blaze, officials said.

The blaze was reported at 6:45 a.m. at 705 N. Memorial Dr. in Merrill. Fire Chief Josh Klug said in a news release that the four-unit apartment building had heavy smoke pouring from the windows when cews arrived.

Firefighters forced entry into the building, extinguished the fire and searched remaining apartment units for possible occupants.  Only two apartments were occupied at the time of the fire.  The fire was confined to the apartment of origin, Klug said.

The fire appears to have started in the kitchen of an unoccupied apartment and was unintentional. The precise cause of the blaze has not yet been determined.

Klug said he is optimistic that residents in other units will be able to return to their homes soon.

This is the department’s fourth structure fire since Thanksgiving.

Photos courtesy of the Merrill Fire Department