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Keepsake teddy bear survives fire and wartime providing comfort for Beaver Dam resident

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September 5 marked six months since the Beaver Dam apartment explosion that killed a man police believe was trying to build bombs. 

The whole building had to be destroyed and now, all 27 residents who lost their apartment have new homes.

Dietlind Walach, better known to some as “Mrs. D” was home when the explosion happened March 5. “It felt like an airplane hit, everything shook,” Mrs. D said.

Before the controlled burn of Apartment 109, residents were told the FBI would be going back in to grab some of their small prized possessions. But for Mrs D. they grabbed much more: bins full of her antiques, pictures, and family treasures.

Mrs. D used to own an antique shop, but the most important item she got back was a little teddy bear her parents gave her in 1943. Mrs. D grew up in Germany and this bear accompanied her throughout life, surviving World War II bombings.

“I had him in a baby mitten throughout the bombing of Dresden,” she said.

She said she cried when she got it back.

The story of this bear touched residents throughout Beaver Dam.

“That little bear everybody talked about,” Lee Smith, Beaver Dam Fire Department Captain, said. “This bear meant a lot to a lot of people. It’s the story of Beaver Dam.”

And although Mrs. D is reunited with her bear and some of her prized possessions, there are still many items she’ll never see again.

“It hurts, it still hurts,” she said.

After spending five months in a motel, Mrs. D and her bear have found a new place to live.

“I love it,” she said.

She’s the final building 109 resident to find a new home.

“Every single resident has a story has a story to tell,” Captain Smith said. “Every single one of them.”

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