HARTLAND, Wis. - A criminal investigation is underway in Hartland after six people were found dead inside an apartment building Friday morning, Oct. 21.
The fire started shortly after 5 a.m. in a four-unit building near Oxford Drive and Mansfield Circle. Neighbors tell FOX6 News three families with children and a couple lived in the units.
"There was flames coming out of the windows. So, pretty bad," said neighbor Jacob Lacrosse.
"It’s a quiet neighborhood. Not much that goes on, so when something like this happens, it’s sad," neighbor Kevin Bodway said.
The Red Cross said it is collecting items for survivors. The organization is also providing emergency aid for essentials like temporary housing, meals, and more to three families in three separate units. Those three units were home to 10 people – including five kids.
Jeffrey Pfannerstill, Hartland's village president, said the community is devastated by the loss of life.
"There is a community that’s hurting. There is a neighborhood behind me that’s hurting. This whole community is," said Pfannerstill.
"Again, I'd like to reiterate this is a tragic incident for the community and our first responders," Hartland Police Chief Torin Misko said.
Fifteen fire departments and nine police departments assisted at the scene. Investigators have not confirmed the identities of the six victims – or said exactly how they died.
Vigil for victims
A small group gathered in Nixon Park for a vigil Friday night, nearly 15 hours after first responders were called.
"This is just a really sad day," said David Grevenkamp, a science teacher at North Shore Middle School. "I’m still in shock a little bit, the way I process grief a day maybe two days."
Grevenkamp said the tragedy is affecting everyone.
"Our role as the teachers were to make sure we kept the focus on learning in the classroom, I know we had students that were affected"
"It saddens me, it scares, but I think it wakes us up that it doesn’t have to be a big city. It could be anywhere," Pfannerstill said.
The community is trying to understand what happened while keeping those affected in their hearts.
"The community is ready to step in and help who they can," said Grevenkamp.