MADISON — A massive fire destroyed more than half of a Madison apartment house Saturday.

The fire broke out around noon at the two-story complex at 152 Main St., where at least 50 firefighters from fire stations across the region converged to fight the blaze. No one was hurt, but as firefighters worked to extinguish the last of the fire around 4:30 p.m., four of the seven apartments in the complex — the ones in the building’s front section — were gutted. The state fire marshal’s office is investigating the cause of the blaze.

Melissa Bradley, 34, and her children sat in their Jeep and watched as the fire moved through the building. They were in their apartment in the building when the blaze broke out.

“I was getting ready to leave for work when someone banged on the door,” Bradley said. “My boyfriend went downstairs and he said, ‘We got to get out. It’s a fire.'”

Bradley estimated nine tenants were living in the building’s front section and the extension, including at least one elderly woman. Bradley’s apartment, in the extension, had been spared and she was waiting to get back inside.

Madison Fire Chief Don French said tenants in the three unharmed units should be able to get access to their apartments by the end of the day when power and water were restored. He said there was no fire or water damage to the remaining apartments, though there might be some lingering smoke damage. French said strong wind made the fire more challenging but also might have spared the adjoining structure.

“It’s coming right out of the west,” French said. “That’s what drove that fire so hard; but I think, in all honesty, it saved this building right here.”

Cindy Savoy, 58, who lives behind the complex, said she saw traffic before she saw the fire. She ran out of the building and saw firefighters, including French, clambering up a ladder.

“I was worried about him. I know all of them,” said Savoy, whose father was once Madison’s fire chief.

Savoy said she and members of St. Sebastian Church grabbed warm clothes for tenants who fled the building in T-shirts. She and French expressed gratitude to members of the community who donated pizzas, hot coffee and buses for firefighters to use to escape temperature in the single digits. St. Sebastian, located across the street from the fire, also opened its doors to firefighters, neighbors and tenants.

Kate McCormick — 861-9218

[email protected]

Twitter: @KateRMcCormick

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