St. Croix Co. (WQOW) - Investigators say it appears a fire at a nursing home started in the attic, but we may never know what caused it.
On Tuesday, a fire started in a new complex being built for the Glenhaven Nursing Home in Glenwood City. No one was hurt. More than 100 firefighters were called in to battle the blaze. The Department of Justice, which oversees the State Fire Marshal's Office, says the fire started in an attic area of the new complex. Investigators say there's nothing to suggest the fire was suspicious. They also say they expect to classify the cause of the fire as undetermined.
St. Croix County (WQOW) - Thirty two nursing home residents and all staff members are safe after a fire broke out Tuesday morning at the Glenhaven Nursing Home. It took more than 100 area firefighters to battle the blaze.
Fire department officials say the fire was first reported around 5am by a nurse who was on duty at the time. The Glenhaven Nursing Home is a fifty year old building. What caught fire is a new addition that was vacant and under construction.
The facility's administrator told WQOW News 18 residents were to begin moving into the new building in June. Drywall was up and interior walls were being painted.
All told, construction of the new facility came with a price-tag of more than $9 million.
John Larson, the Mayor of Glenwood City, says, "It took your breath away. It was just "Oh no" Unbelievable. There's been so much hard work and effort has gone into this project and it's been a year in the construction project, they were kind of looking at being done by summer and it's gone in an hour, or two hours. Just totally devastating. On the other hand, there's no deaths, no injuries. We have to be thankful for that."
Glenhaven is the only nursing home in Glenwood City. The original building remains untouched by the fire, that means all 32 residents will be able to stay where they are.
The facility director says some residents, located near the new addition, were moved to a separate wing, but that was just a pre-caution.
Members of the state fire marshal's office were on scene. Right now, the cause of the fire is still under investigation.
Along with the flames crews had to fight Mother Nature, as getting there was half the battle.
"I've never seen this many fire trucks in one area," explains Diane Klatt, who lives across the street from the nursing home. She says she woke up to a sight she describes as shocking. "The roofs were all on fire and that's what I first seen," explains Klatt.
Fire truck, after fire truck, made its way into town. Ken Zich, the Fire Chief of the Augusta-Bridge Creek Fire Department, says, "We came as a convoy, 40 miles an hour, it was very slow."
Crews from at least four different counties helped to battle the flames in Glenwood City. But that meant traveling in conditions that were less than ideal. Some firefighters traveled from as far as Fairchild.
Zich says, "The roads were poor, at best, they were very treacherous in sometimes complete white outs. It was a bad trip. It was actually about an hour to get to Augusta to Eau Claire and another hour from our staging point in Eau Claire to Glenwood City."
In total, 20 different fire departments assisted. Larson says, "It's just amazing how they can all come together and provide the resources that no small community can afford to have by itself."
The most important resource? Water. MABAS Division 1 Director, Quentein Popp, says, "The city's water system is only able to supply one engine. So we're having to tender shuttle everything from two different fill sights. (There's) One in Boyceville and then one at a Glenwood City pond site."
Larson says, "These big pumpers, they pump more in a minute than our wells can produce in a minute. It really taxed our water system."
And as Diane looks at the building her own mother calls home, she's thankful knowing everyone inside is safe. She says, "I'm thankful for the firefighters and all the hard work that they're doing."
The city's police chief says a couple fire trucks even slid off the road and into the ditch on the way to the fire. Firefighters were still there as of 4pm Tuesday afternoon. Again, no one was hurt; the fire was contained to the vacant, new addition, which is now believed to be destroyed.
St. Croix Co. (Press Release) - The structure fire at the Glenhaven Nursing Home at 612 E. Oak St., Glenwood City is contained and crews are finishing their cleaning efforts. No injuries at this time.
St. Croix Co. (WQOW) - UPDATE: The St. Croix County Sheriff's Department has confirmed that the roof of the Glenhaven Nursing Home has collapsed. Authorities say this is only in the part of the building where new construction was underway, and that the residents are in the older part of the building and are safe.
St. Croix Co. (WQOW) - The St. Croix County Sheriff's Department says there's a fire at the Glenhaven Nursing Home. It started around 5 a.m. Tuesday morning.
More than 100 firefighters are fighting the flames right now on the west side of the building, which is new construction. Residents were moved to another part of the building and are all safe. No injuries have been reported. 20 fire departments are on scene right now.
The fire is still being attacked and flames are still shooting out of the building.
According to Glenhaven's website, the building is a 44-bed facility that provides therapy and rehabilitative services, respite and short-term care.
We have a crew headed to Glenwood City and will bring you more on this breaking story here on our website and on later newscasts.
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