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RAW VIDEO: Large Fire Ignites at Shady Lane Greenhouse

Investigators believe the fire may have been caused by sparks from a welding project in one of the greenhouses.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was updated at 3:59 p.m. Friday to include information from an official news release from Protective Services Director and Police Chief Anna Ruzinski

An enormous blaze ignited at Shady Lane Greenhouse early Friday afternoon in Menomonee Falls.

At roughly 11:48 a.m. the Menomonee Falls Fire Department received a full box alarm call for a fire that started in one of the greenhouses on the property. Thick black smoke was clearly visible for miles and the plume rose high above the scene throughout the area. Flames were also shooting through the roof when responders arrived. It was a high-alarm fire due to the fact that fertilizers, gas lines, and other chemicals were present in the building.

Firefighters from throughout the Milwaukee area arrived to assist Falls firefighters on the scene. It appeared the fire had been controlled as mutual aid began to arrive. According to a news release from Police Chief Anna Ruzinski, the fire was completely extinguished by 2:19 p.m.

An employee at the greenhouse, was clearly shaken by the incident as she watched smoke rise from her business. She said everyone made it out safely, but the fire would clearly be devastating.

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"It happened so fast. I think they were going to do some welding in the room. I heard a loud pop while I was in the office, and then there was smoke everywhere," the employee said. "Karl (Hornung) came out from the back and screamed for us to call 9-1-1."

The woman said there was a lot of wood where employees planned to weld, and the blaze quickly got out of control. While on the scene, responders also indicated that there was a downed power line on the premises. We Energies was called to turn off gas lines and electric supplies to the complex.

The greenhouse was filled with Christmas plants, and total damage amounts are not yet available, according to emergency officials.

It remains unclear what started the fire. However, early eyewitness accounts indicate that no one has been injured. Information from the police department corroborates with those early accounts, but the cause remains under investigation.

The MFFD would like to thank the following fire departments for their response and assistance:  Butler, City of Brookfield, Elm Grove, Germantown, Lannon, Lisbon, Mequon, Merton, North Shore, Richfield, Sussex, Wauwatosa, and Waukesha County Rehab Unit.

No more information will be made available from the the police or fire departments over the weekend.

Dawn Mariscal October 05, 2012 at 06:19 PM
This is so devasting. Wishing all the best to the Hornung Family to quickly recover from the tragic event!!
Carl Engelking October 05, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Yes, agreed Dawn. Glad that everyone appeared to get out safely though.
Christopher H October 05, 2012 at 07:26 PM
I leave near the scene. I am at the high school. When it arrived on the phone, I was shocked to hear what happened. I wish all the best to them.
Steve ® October 05, 2012 at 07:30 PM
Wishing all the best, this is one of my regular stops in May to fill my annual flower addiction.
Nuitari (Grand Master Editor) October 05, 2012 at 08:12 PM
That sucks. Very happy with the plants I have from there.
Johnny Paycheck October 06, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Thank god nobody was injured... What a terribly tragedy though-- that was such a nice greenhouse and it added so much to the community. It is sad thinking about a whole greenhouse full of Christmas plants being destroyed by fire.
Jim Kube October 06, 2012 at 02:27 PM
So sorry to hear of this! My wife and I shop there fairly regularly. So glad no one was hurt. Hopes/prayers.
Jim2887 October 06, 2012 at 04:50 PM
What a shame. I hope they get going again soon.
Let's Roll October 07, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Nice reporting Carl. I really like these people and hope they recover well. Well, I have a few shrubs and trees that need replacing. Might as well head over there and get it done.

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