LAURIUM - A fire that broke out at the home of Vicki and Jeff Waatti at 604 Iroquois St. early Friday morning in Laurium has left one woman in the hospital from smoke inhalation.
According to Laurium Fire Chief Dan Mukavetz, the fire is still under investigation and no official cause has yet been determined. SEMCO Gas Company, which offered to have a fire investigator look into the cause, and the Michigan State Police, are investigating.
Mukavetz said the fire was called in by a member of the Laurium Department of Public Works about 4:50 a.m. and firefighters arrived at the scene at 4:56 a.m.
Daily Mining Gazette/Scott Viau
A fire broke out at 604 Iroquois St. in Laurium early Friday morning. The house, seen here Friday afternoon, is a total loss, according to Laurium Fire Chief Dan Mukavetz.
"When we arrived (Vicki Waatti) was on the front porch roof," Mukavetz said. "She broke a window and crawled out. We got a ladder up and two firemen got her down."
Waatti was then evaluated by Mercy EMS, which brought her to Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital for smoke inhalation.
The firefighters fought the blazes until around 10:30 a.m. Friday morning.
"It's a total loss," Mukavetz said.
Assisting at the scene was the Houghton County Sheriff's Department, American Red Cross, Laurium Police Department, SEMCO, UPPCO - which arrived to cut off electricity to the house - Calumet Township and Laurium Fire Departments and the Laurium DPW and Mercy EMS.
Jeff Waatti said he was sleeping at the time of the fire when he said his cat jumped on his chest and woke him up.
"She's never done that before," Waappi said.
That's when he looked outside and noticed the glow of the fire. Waatti said he then went downstairs to investigate.
"The whole back of the house was fully inflamed," Waatti said. "I tried several times to get back up the stairs but I almost passed out."
Waatti was able to get out of the house safely, as was the cat.
Because of the devastating nature of the fire, a fund has been set up at River Valley Bank to assist the Waattis.
"They need everything. They lost everything. They have nothing," said Tami Hiltunen, sister of Vicki Waatti.
The American Red Cross will be putting the Waattis in the AmericInn hotel for three days.
Jeff Waatti said he expects his wife to leave the hospital sometime today.