Subject: Commercial Fire at 1120 5th Avenue North, Wisconsin Rapids
At 2018 hours (8:18 p.m.), the Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department was dispatched to the VERSO Mill in the City of Wisconsin Rapids for a commercial fire. Dispatch information was a smokestack with flames, and possible flames on the roof. A fiberglass stack that was part of the idle hardwood digester caught fire. Fire and heat compromised the stack causing a collapse, which then started subsequent fires in and around the digester tower.
Fire service personnel in coordination with mill employees mitigated the fire. The fire was declared under control at approximately 2145 (9:45 p.m.). Firefighters remained on scene until approximately 0100 (1:00 a.m.). Approximately 60 firefighters responded to the scene; assisting were Port Edwards Fire, Grand Rapids Fire, Biron Fire, Nekoosa Fire, Vesper Fire, Rudolph Fire, and the Wisconsin Rapids Police Department and Saratoga First Responders.
One firefighter was treated and released on scene for symptoms of heat exhaustion. No Verso employees were injured. Damage assessment continues and it appears the fire damage was limited to the stack area in the number 1 digester building. Cause is undetermined at this time.
The Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department would like to thank the mutual aid departments that responded and assisted with this incident.
For more information, contact:
Deputy Chief/Fire Marshal
Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department