Update: 2 arrested in connection with Reach Inc. Fire - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UPDATE: 2 questioned in Reach fire; Arrested on unrelated charges


Update: Arrests have been made as Eau Claire Police investigate two fires, three blocks apart. 

One of those fires destroyed a business. 

Late Friday afternoon, police say they arrested David London and Brandy Harrington for possession of meth. Police say both were questioned about the fires and both could eventually face charges.

The first fire happened around 3 a.m. on Third Street. It started in a shed next to the building that houses Reach Inc. The non-profit provides programs and services to those with disabilities. 

The fire spread to the Reach building. Investigators have been sorting through the rubble all day. 

There's no word yet on how that fire started. 

Reach employees are already organizing how they'll help their clients next week. They hope they can continue serving them.


Eau Claire (WQOW) - Flames tore through the night and through the roof of Reach Incorporated in the early hours of Friday morning.

Firefighters were forced to stay outside the building because of its deadly design once it catches fire.

"The problem is, is when that stuff goes and really it lets go at the sides as well as the bottom, it's literally, think of it as a bow and arrow.  It releases and the whole roof will collapse," explains lead fire inspector for the Eau Claire Fire Department, Michael Laska.

All crews could do was douse the building and try to stop the fire from spreading as reach, which helps adults with disabilities find jobs, became a total loss.

"In this case you're not going to risk those crews to do that.  So you kind of have to be more on the defensive side of the attack," says Laska.

Many employees showed up to the scene and watched as what they've called their "second home" crumbled.

"It's tough.  They're worried first and foremost, they're worried about what's going to happen to the folks we serve next week," says Reach Incorporated CEO Stacy H. Wigfield.

Once daylight dawned though everyone began moving forward and working to restore Reach's services.

"We've been real busy securing any and all space that we can to get back up and running next week.  We've already secured space for about half of the folks that we need to start serving right away on Monday," says Wigfield.

A bittersweet scene that shows how community support can sprout quickly from a tragic moment.

"The community knows us and they know what we do and they're responding better than I ever imagined with anything from financial help to spaces," says Wigfield.

Keeping their services within reach of those who need them most.

If you'd like to support reach incorporated as it reassembles after the fire they say you can contribute to their Reach Foundation.

The fire department is still investigating the cause, but initial reports say the building caught fire from a small shed that was burning next to it when crews arrived.


Eau Claire (WQOW) - An Eau Claire non-profit that helps people with disabilities find jobs goes up in flames. An overnight fire at REACH, Incorporated left the building a total loss.

The fire began after 2 a.m. Friday morning. The CEO of REACH, Inc. says no one was in the building at the time. It's believed the blaze began behind the building in a shed and spread quickly. The roof caved in and the rest of the building has been collapsing around it. REACH, Inc. is a non-profit that helps people with disabilities, among other things, find jobs throughout the community.

"It's obviously devastating as you can see behind me and we're already making plans," said Stacy Wigfield, CEO of REACH, Inc. "Our goal is to get up and running and in business again somewhere. It's potentially devastating but our efforts turned quickly to getting back in business and getting operational and business as usual."

REACH, Inc. serves 150 people in the Chippewa Valley and employs 45 staff members. The CEO says they'll be calling everyone who uses their services and trying to set up alternatives to their programs while they begin recovering from the loss.


Eau Claire (WQOW) - Early Friday morning, crews were called to a fire at REACH, Inc. in Eau Claire. 

It happened just before 3 a.m.  We have a reporter on scene and we'll bring you the latest on Daybreak, starting at 5 a.m.

Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WQOW. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's pubic inspection file should contact News Director Dan Schillinger at 715-852-5920. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.