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Investigation ongoing into cause of massive Allouez fire

ALLOUEZ, WI (WTAQ) - Fire officials have started the investigation into what caused one of the largest fires the Green Bay area has ever seen.

The blaze at the Hilltop Place Apartments on Hilltop Way in the village of Allouez Thursday put over 100 people out of a home.

Firefighters have been on scene for more than a day now keeping an eye on the rubble.

Everyone made it out of the fire. But for those who returned Friday, the sight of the damage won't soon be forgotten. Bikes burned and a television torched.

Seared reminders of the massive fire Thursday. Briar Schultz was asleep at the time of the fire.

“It's heartbreaking to see all the stuff that all of us have worked so hard to have, now it's all gone,” Schultz told FOX 11.

Rosalio Rodriquez used to live in a second floor apartment.

“When we saw smoke in the hallway, yeah that's when we started thinking hey this could be big,” said Rodriquez.

His girlfriend Erika Kabacinski is a nursing student.

“I had a thousand dollars of nursing books, and just all my notes, and hard work that I put into all my classes, is gone,” said Kabacinski.

Crews spent Friday morning pumping water out of the basement.

“The fire did originate in the basement. We do know that. Other than that, cause-wise, we really have no ideas,” Green Bay Metro Fire Chief Mike Nieft told FOX 11.

Three firefighters suffered minor injuries Thursday. Nieft says all three were treated and released from the hospital.

“No traumatic injuries, it was just some overwork, and possibly some smoke. But they'll be all right,” said Nieft.

Nieft says water was tanked in to fight the fire.

“There was a point where we were flowing so much water that we were starting to deplete the system, and we didn't want to totally deplete the system, because that affects people in their homes,” said Nieft.

Fire investigators from both the state and county are on scene.

“Anything like this you want to get the absolute determination of what happened, so obviously with this much property loss, the insurance companies are going to want to know, so it's a big deal. So we'll work hard to figure out what happened,” said Nieft.

As far as a damage estimate, the chief says the building is a total loss.

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