State building closed into next week; $350,000 fire damage - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

State building closed into next week; $350,000 fire damage

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A state official says a massive, Madison state office building will remain closed at least until Tuesday, after early morning fire and smoke Friday caused at least $350,000 damage.

In a statement, state department of administration spokesperson Stephanie Marquis says the approximately one thousand workers in the GEF-1 state office building on East Washington Avenue will work from homes, if possible, or relocated to other buildings.

The building houses the headquarters of the state department of workforce development, and the department of children and families. The building was closed following the fire's suppression Friday morning, but Marquis says online services were available to customers, and unemployment checks were processed through DWD.

Madison Fire officials say a 911 call about the building's fire alarms sounding brought a first, fire crew to the scene at approximately 2 a.m.

They say the core of the fire was difficult to pinpoint from outside the four story structure, that spans a city block.

Authorities say once the fire's likely origin on the fourth floor was discovered, it was apparent the fire was significant, and smoke was extensive. Fire Chief Steven Davis says the situation evolved into a three-alarm fire response. Authorities say no one was hurt.

Fire officials say the fire's apparent center was in a pod of state worker cubicles. Fire department spokesperson Lori Wirth says a fuse panel above that work area is being investigated.

 Marquis says a December fire inspection of the building flagged no problems.


 MADISON (WKOW) -- A Madison Fire Department official says an early morning fire at a state office building caused at least $350,000 damage.

The fire at the headquarters of the state department of workforce development in the GEF 1 building at 201 E. Washington Ave. prompted state officials to close the building Friday.

Madison Fire Department spokesperson Lori Wirth says the fire broke out around 2 a.m. on the building's fourth floor. Wirth says the cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Wirth says the building was the subject of a fire inspection within the last year. 27 News has asked for the results of that inspection.

For more on the fire, and possible delays in state work as a result of the building's closure, visit and watch 27 News.


MADISON (WKOW) -- All roads that were blocked around 201 E. Washington because of an overnight fire are now open.

But officials say there still could be some traffic issues, so if you can avoid the area, you should. The GEF1 building at 201 E. Washington Ave. that houses employees of the Department of Workforce Development and the Department of Children and Families was damaged in a fire that began around 2:00 a.m. Friday. The building is closed and employees should not report to work.

UPDATE (WKOW) -- The Department of Administration says the GEF1 building at 201 E. Washington Ave. will be closed Friday after a fire was extinguished.

That building houses the Department of Workforce Development and the Department of Children and Families. All other State buildings will be open.

The cause of the fire is still unknown. It was upgraded to a 3rd alarm.


MADISON (WKOW) -- The fire is out at Madison's Department of Workforce Development office, but firefighters are still on the scene monitoring hot spots.

Crews were called to 201 E. Washington Avenue around 2:00 a.m. Friday. No flames were visible, but because of large amounts of smoke, the fire was upgraded to a second alarm.

No injuries were reported.

Officials are asking people to reroute their commutes around the Capitol Friday morning. Inbound traffic on E. Washington shouldn't be a problem. Outbound traffic is blocked on Butler Street between E. Washington and Main Street, and on Main Street between Butler and Webster Street, as well as Webster Street between Main and E. Washington.

MADISON (WKOW) -- The Madison Fire Department says there was a lot of smoke, but so far no flames, at the Department of Workforce Development building on E. Washington Avenue.

Currently, the fire department is requesting for mutual aid from outside the city.

Fire officials believe the building was clear and there was no need for evacuations.

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