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Woman becomes 5th person killed in house fire during sub-zero stretch

ROBERTS, WI (WTAQ) - At least five people have died in separate house fires in Wisconsin during this week's brutal cold snap.  

66-year-old Roberta Eastman died Wednesday at Regions Hospital in St. Paul Minnesota. She was pulled from her burning mobile home on Tuesday night at Roberts in far western Wisconsin.  

Authorities said a lighted cigarette may have caused the fire. An investigation continues.  

Officials praised the actions of the first responders. While heavy smoke drove rescuers away, state trooper Robert Unruh had a gas mask in his squad car -- and he used it to enter the mobile home, where he and Roberts police officer Todd Shafer found Eastman and removed her.  

When the blaze intensified, officials said Unruh moved Eastman away from the house before the windows blew out, thus preventing further injury.

In the past three days, house fires have also killed one person each in Manitowoc, Waunakee, Racine, and the Jackson area.

(Story courtesy of Wheeler News Service)