UPDATE: Firefighters call Jackson Co. plant a total loss - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Firefighters call Jackson Co. plant a total loss after fire



Jackson County (Press Release from the Black River Falls Fire Department) - On February 23, 2011 at 03:53AM the Jackson County Emergency Dispatch Center (EDC) paged for a structure fire at N3410 County Hwy X which, is located in the Township of Irving, County of Jackson. This address is that of “Gerdes Manufacturing” which is a welding and metal fabricating shop with a single story, single family ranch type home attached.

The fire had been reported to the EDC by a passing motorist.

While responding to the scene and knowing the contents of the manufacturing fabricating area and that it was attached to a single family dwelling mutual aid tenders were requested.

The following departments were on scene as mutual aid for man power and tenders as this is a rural area without fire hydrants:  Hatfield Fire Department, Merrillan Fire Department, Hixton Fire Department, Melrose Fire Department, Taylor Fire Department, and Black River Emergency Medical Service.

Upon arrival of the Department the manufacturing / fabricating structure which was a 56’ x 56’ pole barn type constructed building had heavy fire involvement on the side A –B corner of the building and the roof also collapsed in this area of the building shortly after the Department arrived on the scene.

The two (2) occupants from the attached single family dwelling had exited the home by the time the Department arrived and were not hurt.

A defensive fire attack was made on the fire given the known amount of compressed gas cylinders in the manufacturing / fabricating building from past fire inspection visits by the Department.

Priority was given to protecting and cutting off the fire from advancing into the attached single family dwelling given the fire involvement of the manufacturing / fabricating area.

The fire was held from advancing into the single family dwelling area which only appears to have smoke damage.

The manufacturing / fabricating building appears to be a total loss. 

An estimated 110,000 gallons of water was used to put out the fire and there were 27 Firefighters on the scene at one point of the fire.

The Department was on the fire scene for five (5) hours.

The property owners are Michael and his wife Marteen Gerdes. The occupants of the single family attached dwelling were Michael’s parents Ron and Sharon Gerdes.

Owners Michael and his wife Marteen operate the manufacturing / fabricating business. They had one (1) other employee working for them at the present time.

The cause of the fire is not known at this time and damages are estimated to be over $350,000 at this time. The property and contents is insured.

There were no reported injuries during the fire by any civilians or Firefighters.

The Red Cross responded to the scene to provide Firefighter rehab and assist the Gerdes family with housing needs.

The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department conducted traffic control and direction.

The cause of this fire remains under investigation by the Black River Falls Fire Department.





Jackson Co. (WQOW) - Firefighters are calling a Jackson County manufacturing plant a total loss after an early morning fire.

It happened at Gerdes Fabricating, Inc., which is on County Highway X, just south of Black River Falls. 

The fire began around 3:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.  Crews were called in from as far away as Eau Claire to help out because the roof collapsed.

"The building is attached to a single family dwelling," said Black River Falls Fire Chief Steve Schreiber. "People were inside at the time. They were able to get out."

No one was hurt.  No word yet on what started the fire.


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