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'Extreme Makeover' home rapidly rises overnight

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River Falls, 54022

River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, the new Huber home on Swamp Road was merely a foundation.

By midnight, it seemed a near-complete home had appeared out of the sky and been plopped down, "Wizard of Oz"-style.

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Surrounded by shockingly bright lights rivaling the full moon's glow, dozens of workers filled the house and its grounds.

Two cranes and bulldozers were in full swing. The sounds of hammers and saws filled the night and the smell of fresh-cut wood permeated the 52-degree air.

Superior resident Memory Malone was one of two spectators at the site of the "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" build south of Superior at 12:30 a.m. Thursday who wanted to see the nighttime activity.

"I left at 8:30 and all that was there was a concrete block for the chimney. I got back at 11 and this is what was done," she said, motioning to the new structure.

Construction of the new home is a 24-hour operation. The campers, tents and trailers on one end of the set were buttoned up in the middle of the night, but lights burned in many. Fire and medical personnel on the late shift stood watch, some eating ribs and cornbread from Black Woods in the food tent, where workers ducked in periodically for coffee.

Glenn Stahl, a member of the Parkland and Amnicon fire departments, was on the midnight-to-8 a.m. shift.

He had watched Tuesday's controlled burn at the house before demolition, and it was his opinion that filming is a long and slow process, but an interesting one. Amazed at the friendliness of the cast and crew, he said the volunteer work was "addicting."

Inside the food tent at 1:30 a.m., Oakland Township Fire Chief Randy Martin relayed a story about how firefighters, first responders and emergency medical technicians performed unusual duty Tuesday.

Moved plants were drying out too quickly and Ellen Sandbeck, who was doing fertilizer work, needed help.

"I looked over at the medical tent ... and said, 'Do you guys want to help work in the garden?' " he said. "So, here are all these volunteer firefighters now gardening. If somebody needs a hand, you just do it."

On his third day of volunteering at the site Tuesday, his shift over, Martin couldn't make himself leave until he had seen the original house come down.

"It's a neat experience," he said. "We don't want to leave."

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