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Tomah Fire Dept. unsure what caused two historic buildings to burn



Photo Credit: Tomah Fire Department

The Tomah Fire Department ruled the cause of a fire that destroyed two historic buildings in the early morning hours of Nov. 29 to be undetermined.

The fire took place at the Dimensions Bar/Apartments at 1112 Superior Ave. and the Artisan Market.

The fire department said investigators have been working to determine the cause by performing interviews, reviewing photos and video footage, including drone footage of the fire scene.

“Since the roof and part of the second floor had collapsed, there was no safe way to get in and perform a physical assessment of the area of origin where the fire had occurred,” Fire Chief Tim Adler said in a statement.

The cause and origin expert from the insurance company for the Dimensions Bar said the company would not provide the resources to pull the scene apart because the expense would outweigh the benefit.

“It would take a large crane and multiple fire investigators, along with electrical engineers, several days to eliminate any possibilities of what may have started the fire, and yet still may not come up with the exact cause,” Adler said.

Fire investigators are confident that the fire was not intentionally set. They were able to identify that the fire’s area of origin was in the front apartment located on the second floor of the building.

“The cause of the fire is ruled as undetermined, though we can not rule out the possibility of careless use of smoking materials, nor can we rule out any potential electrical failures in the apartment where the fire occurred,” Adler said.

The two buildings that suffered the brunt of the fire have been condemned by Tomah’s building inspector and will be raised within the next few weeks.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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