WHITEFISH BAY - The investigation was continuing as of Wednesday afternoon into the cause of a fire that sent the owner of the Fox Bay Cinema Grill to the hospital and resulted in the rescue of his wife and child.
The fire in the early hours of Jan. 1 was at the home of the Brian Henry family, 130 W. Belle Ave., Whitefish Bay. A neighbor called 911 at 2 a.m. after hearing cries for help from Katia Henry, who was out on a balcony with her young daughter. They were rescued by firefighters extending a ladder to the second floor of the home.
Brian Henry, 46, was found unconscious and not breathing in the living room of the home. North Shore Fire Department Battalion Chief Robert Whitaker, who was in command at the scene, said that Katia reported her husband had gone downstairs to investigate after smoke detectors had awakened the family. She said she heard him shout "fire" from downstairs, but the smoke was already so dense and starting to fill the second floor they did not go downstairs but sought refuge on the balcony.
Brian Henry was in stable condition Jan. 2 at Columbia-St. Mary Regional Burn Center. Whitaker credited the smoke detectors in the home with saving lives.
"We could be talking about three people who died," he said.
The fire started in the basement, probably near an office area, Whitaker said. Whitefish Bay police were first on the scene. Officers trying to save the man inside were beaten back by the intense heat and heavy smoke, according to a news release.
Whitaker said the smoke was so dense that nothing could be seen inside the home from the front door.
Black smoke billowed out of every window and from the eaves when firefighters arrived, Whitaker said. Fire also was spreading from the basement to the first floor.
Damage is estimated at roughly $130,000, he said.
The Fox Bay Cinema Grill is located at 334 E. Silver Spring Drive.
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