UPDATE: Arson suspected in Chippewa Falls blaze - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: Arson suspected in Chippewa Falls blaze


Chippewa Falls (WQOW) - Investigators say they will likely never know exactly how a big fire got started in Chippewa Falls over the weekend. But they say its definitely a case of arson.

The fire Saturday night destroyed a one-acre pile of thousands of wooden pallets.

It took six fire departments and more than a quarter million gallons of water to put it out.

They also had to bulldoze the burning wood to extinguish the blaze and that destroyed any evidence.

Police are asking that anyone who saw something suspicious or who knows anything about the fire to contact them. You can call the Chippewa Falls Police Department tipline at 715-720-6944.


Chippewa Falls (WQOW) - Firefighters from six area departments were needed to help fight a late night blaze that's being called very suspicious. 

The Chippewa Falls Fire Chief says crews were called to the corner of Highway 53 and Highway 29 just after 11:30 Saturday night. A large pile of wooden pallets and debris was on fire and flames were spreading.  An end loader had to be used to put out the fire and because of the very dry conditions, lots of water. The Chief says 280,000 gallons of water were used.

Roads nearby were shut down for about three hours.  The Chief says the cause of the fire is very suspicious and an investigation is underway. 


Chippewa Falls (Press Release) - Chippewa Falls Fire and Emergency Services Department along with Chippewa Falls Police officers responded to a large wooden pallet – debris pile fire at 11:36 pm on 09/07/2013 at the southwest corner of US Highway 53 and State Business Highway 29. Responding firefighters found the south end of an approximate 200 foot long by 200 foot wide by 20 foot high pallet debris pile on fire spreading rapidly to the west. A blitz fire attack was immediately started using the top mounted deck guns on both initially responding Chippewa Falls Fire engines. A 4" supply line was laid to a city fire hydrant located north of Business Highway 29. With the wind blowing from the northeast at approximately 15 MPH, the fire continued to spread to the west. Chippewa Falls Public Works responded with one personnel and an end loader that was used to plow through an un-burned section of the pallet pile to create a fire break through the large pile.
With concerns of the extremely dry weather conditions and the possibility of secondary fires igniting both south and west of this location, Mutual Aid from several area Fire Departments was called-in to provide additional water supply to the scene and help extinguish the pallet pile fire. Ten tender/tanker trucks from the following Fire Departments responded to the scene: Chippewa Fire District, Eagle Point Fire Dept., Elk Mound Fire Dept., Bloomer Fire Dept., Tilden Fire Dept., and Township Fire Dept. of Eau Claire.
Business Highway 29 (W. River Street) was closed for approximately 3½ hours to traffic. The 13 acre site is owned by Steve Pregent of Chippewa Falls who rents to site to Thomas Swoboda, owner of Buckboard Logistics Pallet Company of Chippewa Falls. Land owner Pregent called in a bulldozer that was used to break up and spread out the smoldering debris pile. This allowed firefighters to completely have access and extinguish the fire.
Due to the proximity of the nearby Chippewa River, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WI DNR) was contacted and informed of the fire and the approximate 280,000 gallons of water that was used to extinguish the fire. The cause of the fire is very suspicious and an investigation is underway by the Chippewa Falls Police Department.


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