Silver Lake tavern fire update (PHOTOS)


/Earlene Frederick photo

Fire broke out this morning at a tavern in the 200 block of Railroad Street in Silver Lake. Someone cleaning in the building was made aware of the fire by a passer-by.

Personnel manning the Silver Lake Fire Department engine could see the smoke coming from the back of the building, from the fire station, but they could not reach the building that was on fire. A train came through as they were ready to leave the station. SLFD Assistant Chief Greg Galich said he realized this was going to happen and walked across the tracks before the train arrived.

Silver Lake asked for a MABAS box alarm for additional help. Randall Fire Department units were the first fire department to arrive on scene. Flames were coming from the back window. Firefighters were able to get water on the fire and put it out. Town of Salem Fire/Rescue was able to get one rig out before the train, but not their tender (water tanker). Silver Lake Rescue stood by. Town of Wheatland Fire Department also responded, but were sent back.

Damage to the building was contained to the loading dock.

The fire is being investigated by Sheriff’s Department detectives, said Sgt. Dan Ruth, Kenosha County Sheriff’s Department public information officer.

UPDATE 5:03 p.m. — Fire likely caused by problem with wiring to an exhaust fan system and detectives satisfied fire is not of suspicious origin, Sgt. Ruth said. No injuries.

UPDATE 7:08 p.m. — (Following info added by Darren Hillock): Silver Lake Rescue Squad personnel were first on the scene, said village Trustee Roger Johnson. Rescue squad members saw large amounts of smoke coming from the building and no fire units yet on the scene, according to one of the squad members who responded. The two rescue squad members used fire extinguishers and a garden hose to douse the hot spots they found until Randall arrived on scene.


/Earlene Frederick photo

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  1. Credit where credit is due says:

    Not that I don’t appreciate the efforts of all emergency services.. Believe me I do. But I just want to especially thank the Solcer Lake Rescue Squad! Without them, a couple fire extinguishers and a garden hose, we’d have to bid farewell to uncle George’s. We need to give credit where it belongs. Thank you guys!

  2. Credit where credit is due says:

    Typo… Silver Lake Rescue Squad


  3. informed citizen says:

    A BIG Thank You goes out to the Silver Lake Rescue that was first on the scene for the fire. 2 of Rescue’s finest actually put out the fire with fire extinguishers and a garden hose which prevented the entire building from being destroyed before and engine could arrive. Also Randall, Wheatland and Salem fire Departments that arrived and finished the job.
    Thank YOU Dean and Clint. Great Job!

  4. Deb R says:

    I’m so thankfull that George’s is saved! Thank you to the rescue people for your quick response and getting the fire out right away. I’m glad you were able to get the fire out and under control until the firefighters could get there. I’m glad no one was hurt.

  5. Silver Lake Neighbor says:

    In fact, the fire was put out by Silver Lake Rescue Squad. They got on the scene in less than a minute after dispatch set off the tones. Two EMT’s were in the building just 1/2 block from the fire scene. When they got there they put out the fire with two extinguishers and a garden hose.

    The first fire department to arrive on the scene was Randall, ten minutes later. When Silver Lake Fire did arrive, the fire truck was driven by ONE, and one only, trainee. As they say in Nursery Rhymes…that WAS against the rules! She parked the truck too close to the scene, which is again against the rules.

    If Silver Lake Rescue Squad were to be put out of business, as the on-going negotiations with Salem are endeavoring, that whole building would have been a total loss, and our beloved dear “Uncle George” would probably have been injured badly. A fire doubles in size every minute, and this one was discovered and extinguished almost immediately.

    Thank You Silver Lake Rescue Squad for your bravery and quick thinking!!!

  6. Bill Hopkins says:

    When will the Silver Lake Board realize the situation it is in with having the village split in two by the railroad tracks. 18 years ago, 9/3/1997, a fire in the fire department occurred. Responding units were initially blocked from fighting the fire by a passing train. The Village owns the building where the rescue squad has its trucks. The Silver Lake Dive unit had a stall in the opposite end of the building. Why not place a single engine, and associated gear for those Volunteers who live on the west side of the tracks for initial response when they are called out?

    As for the Rescue Squad putting the fire out…well the photos in this article show smoke and water, so I doubt they put the fire out. As a matter of fact for them to even attempt to put the fire out was STUPID. Did they know at the time what type of fire it was? Electrical, Grease? Either one it was stupid as they placed themselves in a very dangerous situation. Water from a garden hose on a grease or electrical fire is very dangerous, ask any neighboring department. Hand held extinguishers means you need to get very close to be effective… and I do not believe they had the proper equipment to get that close. They simply GOT LUCKY !!!

    Its about time Silver Lake Board wakes up and smells the predicament they are in…a dysfunctional EMS Team. You need a single person in-charge directing both Fire and Rescue, not a group of Paid on Call John Wayne’s, and a Fire Department that can provide protection to the entire village, not just the east side of the tracks.

    Place an Engine in the Rescue Building and a Rescue Squad in the Fire Station. Provide Initial Emergency Services to the Entire Village.

  7. Chris Dreyer says:

    I presented that idea prior to this incident, and was told that an Engine would not fit in the Rescue Barn because the doors are not tall enough.

  8. Sour grapes? says:

    Sounds like a lot of sour grapes coming from Mr Hopkins. The fact of the matter is the fire was put out. Maybe before Asst Chief Galich “walked” across the tracks he could have grabbed a fire extinguisher? Maybe they can put together another Ad-hoc group to determine the correct way to respond to a fire?

  9. Sl Goverment says:

    I still can not believe how stupid some people are. It is not like someone’s life was in danger. Why risk your life for some wood building. No gear, no SCBA, No back up. It is very clear these rescue people are not professionals. They do not understand the risks. What would happened if they got hurt. Who would cover their injuries for working outside there job description. Like Bill said GOT LUCKY.

  10. C'mon Bill...... says:

    Bill is right. We do need a single person in-charge directing both fire and rescue. Let’s try to make sure it’s not anyone who isn’t smart enough to bring a fire extinguisher with them when they walk across the tracks towards a fire though! Since everyone was such in favor of contracting with Kenosha County police department, why not just contract with Randall Fire and be done with all this bickering? They would get her faster than our current volunteers, they are better trained, and would actually put out fires instead of standing and gawking.

  11. Silver Lake Neighbor says:

    The Village of Silver Lake does not “own” the Rescue Squad building. The village owns the land. The building was built and paid for by Silver Lake Rescue Squad, Inc. The land is under a long term lease with the between the village and the corporation.

    It is beyond imagination why one would think we are the only place on earth where fire and rescue are under different commanders. In fact, it is the most common of arrangements, both in Wisconsin and nation-wide.

    The only dysfunctional thing about the EMS team in the village is the imagination of the observers and the Fire Department. They work hard for very little compensation because they believe in the village and the department. They work and train well together.

  12. Very comforting says:

    “It is not like someone’s life was in danger. Why risk your life for some wood building”,,, geez, so you only risk your life when feel like it?

    “No gear, no SCBA, No back up” Didn’t stop others from stepping up and doing what was needed. “It is very clear these rescue people are not professionals. They do not understand the risks. What would happened if they got hurt. Who would cover their injuries for working outside there job description” Thank GOD these “NON Professionals” where there to do the job Mr. Galich and others were not prepared to do or interested in enough to do.

  13. Good Job SLRS says:

    Way to go SLRS, I guess you won the bet and I owe you guys a dinner. You were right that it wouldn’t take long for the low lives that sit behind a computer to emerge from a rock and talk about a situation they knew nothing about. Dean, you are one of the smartest guys I know! I’m glad I took the Pump Operator class with you, you sure know your stuff. And Clint, haven’t worked with you yet on a call, but you being a Fire Lt. on a neighboring department, I know you guys wouldn’t of put yourselves in a situation that would of compromised your safety. And for you people like Bill Hobkins that Monday quarterback, why don’t you ask them like I did what happened? They attacked the blaze from just outside the door, first with fire extinguishers to knock the fire down and then the garden hose to put out the hot spots and the fire on the outside of the building just outside the vent hole.

    Once again, way to go guys, way to stay safe and way to keep my local watering hole from burning to the ground. Don’t pay any mind to the nay-sayers, the only thing they would ever risk for someone is a hang nail typing on their computer.

  14. Pete says:

    No ability to work together. That is why this village needs to do away with everything. You can be the smartest person in the world, but unable to work with others, and be no help to anyone.

  15. Ughhh says:

    I’m still confused. All this thanking going out to the Silver Lake Rescue, but the bottom line is, where were the people who run the fire department? All those people who stand up and defend the fire department who are on the fire department, where were they? This is 100% the fault of the fire department. Let’s just thank God this wasn’t a residence with people trapped inside!

  16. Chris Dreyer says:

    When a FD is toned out for a fire, more often than not the fire is extinguished before any fire personnel arrive. The Person who called 911 or a neighbor usually extinguish the fire, as they saw it. That fire very well may still exist within the walls, rafters, our crawl space. What happened at Uncle George’s was fortunate. #1, no one was injured, #2, property was saved, and last, the fire did not rekindle later. If you do not understand operations of a fire scene, please STOP embarrassing yourselves by making this a political event. Mr. Galich, a seasoned firefighting professional, (Fire Officer) did what he had to do. Rescue, as a great neighbor, did what they did, and I am sure they know we all appreciate their efforts. This is poor etiquette folks. Stay out of something you do not understand. You will never know what it feels like, until you need them.

  17. to Chris says:

    You said Mr Galich “did what he had to do”. What do you mean by this? if we looked through fire fighting 101 training manual, will we see a section that teaches the best way to put out a fire is to stand and watch? Or perhaps a section that states if you are going to a fire don’t bring a hose, ax, fire extinguisher, or anything that might help you do your job. Maybe he was waiting to hear from the ad hoc committee before rushing into action?

  18. Ad Hoc Advocate says:

    It would appear to me that virtually EVERYTHING the Ad Hoc Committee predicted would happen if changes were not made to the methods that the village of Silver Lake used to provide fire & rescue services to the citizens, is in fact HAPPENING!!!! Those folks bashing the committee and their recommendations FAIL to grasp the REALITY that combining fire & rescue services under one Unified Command, with LOCAL GOVERNMENT CONTROL(the Ad Hoc Committee’s Number 1 recommendation) will happen shortly when Salem Fire & Rescue takes over . Complete with PARAMEDIC level services. It’s a beautiful thing.

  19. Not True says:

    The post above wasn’t bashing the Ad HOC Committee. It was bashing it’s head cheerleader, Greg Galich, and his inability to show up to a fire prepared.

  20. Sl Goverment says:

    Ad Hoc Advocate hit it right on the head. The people with vision get pounded by the people with no vision. Happens all the time and the people that are making the changes know the other are going to cry because they do not get it. Move on without them.

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