Union Center man charged with reckless homicide, arson in fire death of his uncle


UNION CENTER, Wis. (WKBT) — A 45-year-old Village of Union Center man has been charged with first-degree reckless homicide and arson in connection with the March 19 death of  his uncle in a house fire, the Juneau County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday.

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Charged in the case is Travis J. Yirka, who is being held in the Juneau County Jail on a $500,000 cash bond, according to a news release from the sheriff’s office.

The charges are in connection with a fire that killed 64-year-old LeRoy C. Siefkes, who was Yirka’s uncle.

Authorities were called to the fire at 7:34 a.m. March 19. They were notified that two people might be inside. But one resident was found safe at a home in nearby Elroy. Siefkes was alone at the time of the blaze, the sheriff’s office said.

According to the criminal complaint, Yirka told a deputy at a hospital he would feel “good” if Siefkes had died in the fire. The two, who lived together, reportedly argued regularly — sometimes ending in verbal or physical disputes — and did so the night before the fire.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Detective Jay Greeno at (608) 847-5649.

The Wisconsin Division of Criminal Investigation aided in the probe.

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