UPDATE: ATF team joins investigation into Wilderness Resort fire - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: ATF team joins investigation into Wilderness Resort fire

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Site of the fire on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018 Site of the fire on Friday, Jan. 26, 2018

UPDATE (WKOW) -- The National Response Team of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is now part of the investigation into the fire at the Wilderness Resort.

“Our presence here does not necessarily indicate criminal activity,” said Assistant Special Agent in Charge Joel Lee of the ATF Milwaukee Field Office. “With a large structure fire like this, the local authorities often need help to conduct interviews with witnesses and to sift through the debris of the structure remnants.”

“We are grateful to have the ATF National Response Team here to assist,” said Delton Fire Chief Darren Jorgenson. “This is a significant fire and we are treating this seriously. Given the size of the blaze, we need the investigative assistance that ATF and DCI are able to provide. This investigation could take several days and will not impact daily operations of the resort.”


UPDATE (WKOW) -- Wilderness Resort says an early morning fire was at a dormitory that's been under construction.

Heidi Fendos, a PR Counsel for Wilderness Resort, says security noticed smoke in the building around 4:10 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 25, 2018 in  a dormitory that was being built for J-1 visa international workers. The Lake Delton Fire Department was called to the scene.

Fendos says there were no injuries and no employees or guests were affected by the fire. She says the resort is cooperating with the Lake Delton Fire Department as they investigate the cause.

Fendos said the resort is operating normally and was not impacted by the fire at all.

Fire crews worked on protecting neighboring structures and two neighboring buildings sustained damage, according to a news release from the Lake Delton Fire Department.

There also was a large construction crane on scene that was affected by fire resulting in a partial collapse.

The fire was under control at approximately 5 a.m.

The building is a total loss. The building was under construction with a completion date of the end of May.

The dormitory was intended to house Wilderness Resort international workers here on J-1 visas. The preliminary damage estimate is expected to exceed $5 million. There were no injuries to civilians or emergency responders.

The resort is operating as usual and guests were not impacted. The cause of the fire is unknown and under investigation by the Delton Fire Department, Lake Delton Police Department, and Department of Criminal Investigations.

All of the employees evacuated from the neighboring dormitory were allowed to return to their rooms about two hours later. 

UPDATE (WKOW) -- Sauk County dispatchers confirm to 27 News fire crews are battling a fire at a structure at the Wilderness Lodge. 

The road leading up to the building, East Adams Street, is closed at this time.


LAKE DELTON (WKOW) - There is a large structure fire in Lake Delton. Multiple agencies have been called to the scene.

An employee of Quincy Media, which owns WKOW, is in the area and tells us it's at a building that's part of the Wilderness Resort in the Dells. Cameras from the Wisconsin Department of Transportation show large flames coming from the area.

The Delton Fire Department was assisted on scene by the following: Kilbourn (Wisconsin Dells) Fire Department – automatic mutual aid Baraboo Fire Department Reedsburg Fire Department Lyndon Fire Department North Freedom Fire Department Mauston Fire Department Sauk City Fire Department Portage Fire Department Prairie Du Sac Fire Department Lake Delton Police Department Sauk County Sheriff’s Department Wisconsin State Patrol Dells-Delton EMS Reedsburg EMS Baraboo EMS Sauk City EMS Salvation Army Lake Delton Water Utility Lake Delton Public Works Alliant Energy

This is a breaking news story. Tune into Wake Up Wisconsin for the latest.

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