WESTERN WISCONSIN ROUNDUP: Search for missing toddler resumes in Polk County
A search resumes today for a two-year-old boy missing in northwest Wisconsin. Isaiah Theis walked away from his family’s farmhouse around six last evening near Balsam Lake in Polk County. Dozens of volunteers and rescuers searched for the youngster until around three this morning. Isaiah’s father, Justin Thies, told WCCO Radio in Minneapolis that he hoped the child was sleeping in the nearby corn fields, and would get home soon.
Authorities in northwest Wisconsin said they found extremely high levels of carbon monoxide at a home where a man died, and three other family members became ill. Rescuers were called early yesterday to the Joseph Parker home at Shell Lake in Washburn County. The 32-year-old Parker was taken to a hospital and later died. His wife and two daughters were hospitalized with their carbon monoxide exposure. Their conditions were not immediately disclosed. Several first-responders were also treated at hospitals due to their exposure. Sheriff Terry Dryden said the Parkers were using a gas generator to provide electricity, and the unit’s exhaust fumes were not vented properly. That caused carbon monoxide levels at least 800 times the acceptable amounts.
Fort McCoy is hosting the National Guard’s annual Patriot training exercise this week. It’s designed to show military units the strengths-and-weaknesses of their emergency response plans. It also evaluates the ability of Guard members to respond to various types of disasters, while working with local-and-state response teams. Over two-thousand soldiers, airmen, and civilian first-responders from 26 states are taking part in the Patriot exercise. It began Monday at the Fort McCoy Army base between Sparta and Tomah – and it will wrap up tomorrow. The Army Reserve is involved for the first time. Wisconsin’s Regional Hazardous Materials’ Response Team is among the civilian units in the exercise, along with the state’s Disaster Medical Assistance Team.
The body of a Minnesota man was recovered yesterday, one day after he jumped from a cliff on the Wisconsin side of the Saint Croix River. 20-year-old Alex Vitalis of Shafer was found by a member of the Stacy Lent Dive Team. Rescuers from northwest Wisconsin, Minnesota, and the National Park Service all joined in the search for Vitalis. He jumped into the river on Monday at Fraconia Landing, and he never resurfaced.