Beloit Man Killed in Basement Fire

By: 23 Newsroom
By: 23 Newsroom

BELOIT (WIFR) – A Beloit man is dead after being trapped in his basement as it went up in flames.

Two people were able to make it out of the home alive and neighbors say the father actually tried going back in to save his son, but the smoke was too strong. Firefighters say the victim likely couldn’t get out quickly because there was so much stuff in the basement.

Books, an old skillet, and a Christmas wreath, all memories, are now an image of the tragedy that happened at a Beloit home Tuesday morning.

“The husband did try to go back in but the smoke was just too intense at that time.”

Next door, Joanne Korn says she still can’t believe her neighbor died trapped by fire in the basement.

“Their son was just a little older than our oldest older so our families sort of grew up together.”

The Rock County Coroner says 53-year-old Thomas Jenks was killed while trying to get out of the basement of the home on Grant Street as the flames rose around him. His parents, who firefighters say were upstairs, made it out safely, but investigators say all the stuff piled around the basement made it harder to escape.

“His path to the back door was not an easy path. He was actually moving through a doorway and they found him on the ground in the basement,” said Jeremy Flanagan with the Beloit Fire Department.

While Korn mourns the loss of her neighbor, who she describes as an extremely smart man, she says it could have been worse.

“If it wasn’t for the smoke alarms, there probably would have been three deaths. The smoke alarm did wake them and they had just moments to get out of the house before it was completely filled with smoke.”

Fire investigators say the fire started in the home’s basement and stayed in that part of the house. They believe too many electrical cords near flammable materials may have sparked the fire.


BELOIT (WIFR) -- The man who died in a Beloit house fire has been identified.

Firefighters say 53 year old Thomas Jenks was trapped in the basement of a home in the 1900 block of Grant Street when a fire started sometime before 3 a.m. Tuesday.

His cause of death has not been released at this time. The fire remains under investigation.



BELOIT (WIFR) -- One person is dead after being trapped in a basement of a Beloit home on that was on fire.

Fire crews were called to a home in the 1900 block of Grant Street around 3 a.m. Tuesday. Upon arrival, fire fighters noticed large flames coming from one of the basement windows.

Three people inside the home when the fire began. Firefighters discovered one of those people was trapped in a bedroom in the basement. Firefighters say they were able to get the victim out of the home but the victim was later pronounced dead.

The name of the victim has not been released pending family notification. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.


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