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A fund has been set up at the Bank of Wisconsin Dells to help Barbara and Jim “Fox” Peterson repair a basement wall that collapse in their Church Street home Aug. 28.

Tory Wolfram of Wisconsin Dells Realty said he was a former neighbor of the Petersons heard about the problem and set up a fund to help them at the Bank of Wisconsin Dells.

“I felt terrible for them,” said Wolfram so he got a federal identification number and set up the account at the bank. In the first week, $10,000 had already been donated. He said he was also contacting businesses and seeking contributions.

Early on the morning of Aug. 28, Jim Peterson heard a loud crash. He checked through the house and then went to the basement — a basement wall had collapsed, Wolfram said.

“It was a hell of a mess.” The basement was a finished one, he said.

In that part of town, basements and foundations are close to bedrock and the ground is heavy, he said. When it becomes saturated, the ground can shift and that’s what happened to the Petersons’ basement.

A structural engineer from General Engineering of Portage checked out the house and came up with a plan to fix it, Wolfram said. The cost of repairing the basement wall would be between $40,000 and $50,000, he said.

The Petersons are close to retirement, Wolfram said. A week before the collapse, Jim had quit his job at Sand County Services and planned to work for himself until full retirement.

Jim Peterson had also worked for Dells Lumber Company in the past, Wolfram said.