Several rush to aid those trapped in burning Oconomowoc building
Benson, Walcott. Video by tmj4.comvideo
OCONOMOWOC - There are a number of heroic stories coming from those who watched the rescue efforts unfold at what would turn out to be a fatal fire in downtown Oconomowoc.
Some who jumped into action just happened to be passing by, others are neighbors who saw the smoke and ran to help.
Bob Snyder had been working outside when he first noticed smoke billowing just a few doors from his home on Main Street. He raced over to help. He didn't even have shoes on.
"I couldn't see it was absolutely just black hot smoke coming right in your face," said Snyder. "This one gentleman says 'Oh my gosh, there's two people up there and they're banging on the window!'"
Two women stood trapped in an apartment above Stapleton Realty as the building burned.
Snyder ran back to get his ladder. In the mean time, witnesses say the women busted a hole through the thick glass.
A man passing through on a motorcycle helped pull one woman out the window. She fell into a group of waiting arms below.
"They caught the first woman that came down," Snyder said. "There was glass falling down on them and they're just sitting under there."
Snyder tried desperately to get the second woman out.
"She was screaming. She was just screaming," he said.
But, Snyder says the ladder was too tall and too skinny for her to fit through at the top.
"I could just see her face and her arms just trying to pull her and I couldn't."
When the fire department arrived, he had to let go. Witnesses tell me the woman panicked and went back in the smokey apartment.