Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Wisconsin Firefighter Dies in Blaze

  1. #1
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002

    Wisconsin Firefighter Dies in Blaze

    Wisconsin Firefighter Dies in Blaze
    Funeral Information Below

    Updated: 08-15-2006 11:59:37 AM

    Courtesy of WBAY-TV

    Wolff Was a Leader Off the Job

    "We're supposed to be the people that save and not lose," a choked up Fire Chief Jeff Stauber said Monday morning at a news conference about the death of a 17-year veteran firefighter. "It's devastating."

    Engineer Arnie Wolff, 55, died Sunday in a house fire on Green Bay's east side, five days before he was to earn a ********* to lieutenant.

    Chief Stauber says firefighters were called to the home at 438 Edgewood Drive minutes before 12:30 Sunday afternoon. Two firefighters entered through the home's back door. The floor collapsed and they fell into the basement, which was filled with burning debris.

    Stauber believes the fire was contained in the basement and was "fully involved" -- and firefighters were unaware of it until the collapse.

    The other firefighter, Jo Brinkley-Chaudoir, was able to escape through a basement window, Stauber said. Fire crews could not enter the home to search for Wolff immediately because the burning home was too dangerous.

    Brinkley-Chaudoir, an eleven-year veteran firefighter, was treated at a hospital and released. Stauber said she returned to the fire scene to offer her help in the investigation.

    All afternoon and evening, on-duty and off-duty firefighters from around the city stopped at the scene to be with their fellow firefighters. A number of city leaders, including Green Bay Mayor Jim Schmitt, also stopped at the scene.

    A Green Bay police captain tells us the Wolff's body was recovered from the rubble at about 2:30 Monday morning. A procession of firefighters and police officers escorted the body to St. Vincent Hospital, where an autopsy is planned Tuesday.

    Wolff joined the department in January 1989. He was currently assigned to Engine 451 at Station 5, and also served as a paramedic.

    Wolff "really enjoyed the medical part of our job, responding to medical calls," Chief Stauber said. "Our hearts go out to him and his family."

    Stauber said Wolff's ********* to lieutenant on Thursday will proceed posthumously.

    Wolff leaves behind a wife and three children.

    Firefighters are receiving counseling, both through the firefighters' peer program and city program, Stauber said.

    The State Department of Criminal Investigation and the A.T.F. are investigating the fire. Stauber said the DCI came in to ensure an unbiased investigation about the fire's cause and origin.

    The Green Bay Fire Department started a memorial fund. Donations can be mailed to:

    In Memory of Engineer Arnie Wolff
    c/o Green Bay Fire Dept.
    501 S. Washington St.
    Green Bay, WI 54301-4218

    Visitation is Thursday at Proko-Wall Funeral Home on E. Mason Street in Green Bay from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. A second visitation will be Friday at 11 a.m. at St. Bernard Church on Hillside Lane. Wolff's funeral will follow at 1 p.m.

  2. #2
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Wisconsin Firefighters Cope with Tragedy

    Updated: 08-15-2006 11:52:19 AM

    Courtesy of WBAY

    Work continued at the Green Bay Fire Department on Monday but with heavy hearts. For many in this city department of 195, the realization of a fellow firefighter's death was just beginning to sink in Monday.

    "We are very close," Jim Irvin remarked.

    Even on his day off, Irvin was back at the scene of the Edgewood Drive fire. He spent all day and night there. So did nearly every other firefighter in the department.

    Many off-duty firefighters spent all their free time either at the fire stations or the scene of the fire, seeing what they could do to help.

    "We're like a family, and we kind of draw off each other," Chad Bronkhorst said."We're coping."

    They have no control over the investigation. There is nothing they can do to bring their friend back. But these firefighters are not about to sit back and watch things happen.

    "Basically we're doing this, supporting each other, talking to who we have to talk to, and picking up stuff that Arnie had to do. That's basically what we're doing, covering for him at his house," Irvin said. Wolff was housed at Station 5.

    Irvin was the first on the scene with Jo Brinkley-Chaudoir and Wolff, and watched them go into the fire together. Brinkley-Chaudoir and Wolff fell through the floor into the engulfed basement. Brinkley-Chaudoir survived.

    Never have they seen a firefighter go into a building and not come out.

    "Pulling up you just think everything. It's just a common house fire; you do it a million times. You realize all of them are not so common," Irvin said.

    "It's very surreal for all of us. It's hard to deal with, for all of us. You don't expect it to happen to your guys. You hear about it happening in other places and you just kind of take it for granted," Bronkhorst said.

    Now there is nothing being taken for granted.

    Off-duty firefighters made constant calls to one another, meeting at their stations, and sharing stories about Arnie.

    "Some of our best therapy is at the dinner table -- we've said that a lot of times. And this is a tough situation for us," Bronkhorst said.

    Firefighters on duty still responded to calls, knowing those off-duty were doing what they could to help Wolff's family.

    Counselors will be coming in to talk with the firefighters to help them cope with the loss of a coworker and friend. Firefighters are taking turns spending time with Wolff's family to make sure they're not alone.

    "Arnie was like another -- I don't want to say 'father,' maybe uncle," Irvin said.

  3. #3
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Home's Condition Hampers Fire Investigation

    By Chris Duffy

    As is the case with any fatal fire, the state fire marshal's office is now conducting the investigation into Sunday afternoon's fire in Green Bay that killed a veteran firefighter.

    Around 2:30 Monday morning, what was presumed became a sad reality when firefighters retrieved Arnie Wolff's body from the basement.

    Ten hours earlier, he and partner Jo Brinkley-Chaudoir entered the home and immediately fell through the floor into the fiery basement. Brinkley-Chaudoir managed to escape through a basement window with minor burns.

    "Our family has lost one of its members, and it's a loss that we may never recover from," Assistant Fire Chief Don Phillips said.

    An autopsy on 55-year-old Wolff is planned for Tuesday. Wolff, a 17-year veteran of the Green Bay Fire Department, leaves behind a wife and three children.

    Investigators spent Monday conducting interviews but had not entered the home by 6 p.m. because they felt the structure wasn't safe.

    "We have a large chimney that's there, and that chimney has moved in the wind several times," Rod Pevytoe of the fire marshal's office offered as an example.

    "We're concerned that if we were in there and the chimney came down, it would pose obviously a big safety risk to anybody that would be in there, plus the possibility of knocking down other parts of the building on to people," he said.

    Investigators still hoped to get inside the Edgewood Drive home later Monday to begin finding the origin and cause of the tragic fire. Investigators said if they had to guess, they believe the fire started in the basement.

    Meantime, Wolff's colleagues say the support from all over the nation after Wolff's death has been overwhelming.

    "It's a family, and it really is incredible to see the amount of support that comes out in a situation like this," Assistant Fire Chief Don Phillips said.

  4. #4
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Wolff was a Leader Off the Job

    By Elizabeth Ries

    We're learning more about Arnie Wolff from those who spent so much time doing what he loved -- fighting fires. Wolff spent much of his life fighting fires, starting his career in January, 1989.

    By all accounts, it was a job he loved, being a firefighter and a paramedic.

    "He really enjoyed the the medical part of our, of our job, responding to medical incidents," Fire Chief Jeff Stauber said.

    Fellow firefighters say they remember Arnie not only for what he did for the department but for who he was as a person.

    Wolff was "very well liked in the department," Chief Stauber said. "Just a wonderful person, and he'll be missed, and our hearts go out to his family."

    "He was a wonderful person. Kind of a quiet person, loved to read. Good husband, good father," Assistant Chief Don Phillips said.

    People we talked with said Arnie's quiet nature earned him immense respect, and they say his death is not just a loss for his family or the fire department but for the entire community.

    Arnie's friends say second to saving lives was Arnie's love for coaching and refereeing youth soccer -- for almost as long as he fought fires.

    "He's a good man," friend Gary Winter said, "a very good leader. He coached soccer teams, ah, which is the Allouez Ice team, on these fields here at Broadview."

    Wolff coached the girls' soccer team. "I think they respected his quiet leadership," Winter said. "He wasn't somebody to yell and shout and scream, but he was there for them and he was there to support them."

    Winte remembers times Wolff would fill in when the league was short on refs, then refuse to take money for his time.

    Winter says he'll remember his friend -- the family man, the firefighter, and the coach.

    "There's quiet people like this throughout our community that never get the recognition that do so much just to make this a better place for our kids to grow up and be a good role model for them as they grow up."

    Winter says Wolff's three kids all love to play soccer. Wolff's daughter is on the team he coached, and his sons have followed in their father's footsteps spending time refereeing games.

  5. #5
    Registered User SeaBreeze's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Wolff, Arnie

    Age: 55
    Cause of Death: Caught or Trapped
    Rank: Engineer
    Nature of Death: Burns
    Classification: Career
    Emergency Duty: Yes

    Incident Date: 08/13/2006
    Duty Type: On-Scene Fire
    Incident Time: 12:23
    Activity Type: Advance Hose Lines/Fire Attack (includes Wildland)
    Death Date: 08/13/2006
    Fixed Prop. Use: Residential

    Fire Dept. Info:
    Green Bay Fire Department
    501 S Washington St
    Green Bay , Wisconsin 54301-4218
    Chief: Jeff Stauber

    Initial Summary:
    Engineer Wolff was a member of a two-person team that was advancing a hose line when the floor collapsed into the basement below. The firefighter was able to find her way to safety, subsequent search and rescue efforts for Engineer Wolff were unsuccessful.

    Memorial Fund Info:
    In memory of Engineer Arnie Wolff, C/o Green Bay Fire Department, 501 S. Washington St, Green Bay, Wisconsin 54301-4218

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts