No official cause of fatal fire known, started near staircase

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The Wisconsin State Fire Marshal’s office has concluded further details about the house fire that claimed the lives of two young girls in Wauzeka, Tuesday, Jan. 19. Their investigative findings revealed that the fire started in the center of the home near the staircase which prevented escape from the upstairs. They cannot definitively state how or what started the fire but it is ruled as an accidental fire.

Crawford County Sheriff Dale McCullick released this information Friday afternoon after being contacted by the State Fire Marshal’s office through the Division of Criminal Investigation shortly before.

It was also determined, by the girls’ autopsies, that they both died of smoke inhalation.

To support the family of Trinity and Lena Bartels, donations can be made payable to Adam and Rebecca Bartels and mailed to Peoples State Bank, P.O. Box 185, Wauzeka, WI 53826, or they may be dropped off at the Salvation Army office in Prairie du Chien by appointment. Call Jen Kapinus at 326-8321 to set up a time. Additional assistance can be provided at Go Fund Me:

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