May 15, 2018
The fire was reported just before 4:00 PM and quickly escalated to a fourth alarm. A plume of black smoke could be seen for miles. Wind from the east blew smoke over I-43 a block to the west of the church, causing several miles of traffic backups. Over 100 firefighters were able to bring the fire under control not long after 5:00 PM. One steeple collapsed into the church. The tower clock continued to keep time until the power was cut at 4:27 PM.
The church is surrounded by industry, a former brewery being redeveloped, a technical college and a new arena under construction. Few of the homes that belonged to parishioners who built the church are extant. The church has an active congregation that is in disbelief over the destruction of the church.
Jim McCabe, founder of the Milwaukee Brewing Company which is across the street. Mr. McCabe took these photos of the fire.
Firefighters battle 4-alarm blaze at historic church in downtown Milwaukee Fox6Now News, Milwaukee.
EDITED TO ADD: Fox6 followed up on the fire today (May 16) saying that several artifacts were rescued from the church, including the cross that came from Germany with the first members of the congregation. Pastor of church blocks from 4-alarm blaze: ‘Any of these churches are a spark away from fire’ posted by Ben Handelman. Other stories are linked at the end of that piece.