WAUSAU PILOT AND REVIEW
TOWN OF LA POINTE, Wis. — An explosion early Wednesday morning leveled the building that housed Madeline Island’s only fire department and ambulance service.
No one was injured in the blast, though a police officer had left the building less than two hours before, according to the Duluth News Tribune. The building has sleeping quarters for the Town of La Pointe’s police officers.
Multiple media sources report a neighbor living next to the fire hall called in the emergency after hearing the explosion. Crews from La Pointe, Ashland, Washburn, Red Cliff and Bayfield were called in to fight the blaze.
The nearest department, across the lake in Bayfield, could only send a brush truck because the ice on Lake Superior was not strong enough to support heavier engines, according to an Ashland Daily Press report.
Firefighters were forced to pump water from Lake Superior to battle the blaze, which took hours to extinguish.
The entire building was destroyed along with all seven La Pointe Fire Department vehicles. All firefighter an ambulance service equipment and gear were also lost in the blaze.
The department, which comprises about 25 volunteer firefighters, 10 ambulance personnel and three full-time police officers, serves the entire island, about 20 miles from Bayfield in Lake Superior. La Pointe has about 267 year-round residents, a population that swells to about 2,000 during the summer months.
The cause of the explosion and blaze remains under investigation.