In the News: 1/1/07
- The following article is on the front page of the La Crosse Tribune
MASSIVE FIRE MAY HAVE CLAIMED EIGHT LIVES
by Amanda Claiborne
Tragedy struck again at Uncle Elmer's Bunny Ranch this Saturday night
when the farmhouse located at the heart of the ranch burned to the ground.
At least one person has been confirmed dead and seven others are
missing after an unexplained blaze ripped through the one hundred year
Police and fire teams responded to calls that a large structure was
burning in rural Sparta late Saturday evening. When fire crews
arrived they found that a massive blaze had already consumed most of a
two story home as well as some of the surrounding forest.
The remains of Elmer Docuson, owner of the Ranch were recovered and
identified late Sunday evening. Among the missing are Liza, Elaine,
Fred, and Anne Docuson, Marty Kilpatrick, and Mrs. Jane Docuson. Also
missing is firefighter Eric Sagan who was last seen fighting the blaze.
"This fire was especially hot and intense, likely do to chemicals that
were being stored in the basement of the house," said Fire Chief,
Gregg Cleveland. "There are still hot spots and the structure isn't
sound so we haven't been able to do a thorough search of the building.
We're assuming that the family was inside and that somehow Sagan may
have been trapped while trying to rescue them."
Liza, Elaine, Fred, and Anne were all children of Jane and Elmer
Docuson. Marty Kilpatrick was a longtime family friend who helped out
at the ranch, relatives said.
Eric Sagan is a four year veteran of the La Crosse Fire Department.
The investigation into the blaze is ongoing, said Cleveland.