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Fire & Rescue

Sparta fire damages multiple businesses

Kaitlyn Riley

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Photo Credit: Sparta Fire Department

A Friday night fire in Sparta ended with no injuries, but damage to several businesses.

The Sparta Area Fire District was dispatched to 112 Milwaukee Street at 6:43 p.m. to a reported structure fire.

Chief Mike Arnold said he arrived on the scene three minutes later and saw one of the suites was fully engulfed in flames. A wall collapsed one hour into the fire.

The building owned by WSR properties houses eight tenants. Arnold said one suite was completely destroyed, and two other tenants had fire and smoke damage while two others had smoke damage.

The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Chief Arnold said workers were siphoning fuel from a vehicle using a battery-powered pump, and a spark from the battery caused the fire to start and spread quickly to fuel. A father and son safely escaped and called 9-1-1.

Arnold said 10 vehicles in the building were destroyed, and two other vehicles outside were also damaged in addition to tools and equipment. It is not clear if the tenant where the fire started has current insurance.

The fire department was on scene for 6 hours. Sparta Police, Sparta Ambulance Service, Monroe County Sheriff’s Department, Sparta DPW, and Monroe County 911 Center assisted.

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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