Foreclosures in Milwaukee, block by block


Neighbors struggle to raise funds to rebuild house destroyed by fire

At about 2:30 a.m. on Sept. 6, a fire gutted the house at 3371 N. 2nd St. in the Harambee neighborhood. The home’s owner, Tammy Steele, awakened two residents, enabling them to escape. Two other people sleeping in the home also managed to get out in time. Steele, 46, died of smoke inhalation.

Steele was a hero even before the night of the fire. Her sister-in-law, Dianne Dallas, said that Steele would regularly invite homeless people and recovering drug and alcohol addicts to stay at her home until they got back on their feet.

Three weeks after the fire, Dallas and other neighborhood residents began working to rehab the burned building, ripping up the floor, removing drywall and electrical wiring, and cleaning up broken glass and insulation. Their hope was to raise enough money to purchase supplies and hire a contractor to finish the job, but they came up far short of their goal.

Although Dallas and others said they were determined to rebuild the home in Steele’s memory, as of the end of December no further progress had been made. LaBrant Pikalek, a contractor rehabbing a house on the same block, said there hasn't been any work done on the burned building in months. Pikalek also commented that that the gutted house was underinsured.


Charles Lucas lives near the burned-down house.
The home was boarded up by volunteers to prevent any intruders from entering.
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Milwaukee Neighborhood News Service is a project of United Neighborhood Centers of Milwaukee (UNCOM).