A fire that appears to have started in a basement utility room extensively damaged the home at 3815 Madison Ave. in Brookfield on Oct. 11, leaving the residence uninhabitable, for now.

Brookfield Fire Chief Mark Duffek said investigators ruled the cause of the fire “undetermined” and have turned over the investigation to the homeowner’s insurance company. The utility room housed a clothes dryer and a furnace, Duffek said.

While most of the fire damage was limited to the basement of the brick split-level home, flames did travel up a plumbing chase into a first-floor bathroom, Duffek said, and smoke filled rooms on all of the floors, causing extensive damage throughout.

“It’s pretty heavily charred with smoke,” Duffek said of the home’s interior.

The amount of smoke also forced firefighters to cut holes in the home’s roof and smash out rear windows to vent the building. Firefighters also cut holes in walls to determine if the fire had spread behind the walls to other areas of the house. 

More than a half hour after putting out the main fire, firefighters could be seen in a second-floor room at the rear of the house, spraying water at hot spots.

According to the police incident report, a man who resides at the house said he was sleeping in an upstairs bedroom when he heard his dogs barking and heard “popping” noises coming from the basement.

He observed smoke throughout the house, opened windows and then grabbed his dogs and ran outside where he was met by police and fire department personnel. No one was hurt.

Duffek said the residents of the home have made arrangements to stay with other family members until it can be restored.