NIGHTMARE Fire; 6 Dead


( – What should have been a time of happiness turned into a nightmare, as a fire at a vacation rental in Wisconsin tragically killed six people over the weekend, including a former pastor and two of his children.

The incident occurred around 2:35 a.m. when deputies and firefighters were called to a structure fire at W5040 Morros Mile Road in Necedah, a town about 70 miles northwest of Madison.

When deputies arrived, they found the house completely engulfed in flames and several individuals in the driveway. They informed officers that six people—three adults and three teenagers—were still inside.

Juneau County Sheriff Andrew Zobal said in a statement, “Fire Department personnel battled the fire for approximately three hours, and remained on-scene for over twelve hours. Unfortunately, six family members perished as a result of the fire.”

Moreover, the victims were identified as 66-year-old Steve Witte, a former pastor at Beautiful Savior Lutheran Church in Green Bay, and five members of his family. The group was staying at the house for a family reunion.

The other victims were Lydia Witte and Charis Kuehl, both daughters of Steve Witte, and granddaughters Stella Kuehl, Lena Henselin, and Merci Henselin. Fortunately, several family members survived, including Hanna Henslin.

“The pain of losing six members of one family cannot be described with words,” the president of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod, Mark Schroeder, said.

“The only thing that can begin to bring comfort in such a time of grievous loss are the words that God himself speaks to us. Those words remind us that these members of our extended WELS family are now resting in perfect joy and peace at the side of their Savior,” he added.

Additionally, the Wisconsin Department of Justice and the State Fire Marshal are investigating the cause of the fire, though investigators say it appears to have been an accident.

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