By Shereen Siewert

A structure fire that broke out Saturday at a building just west of Wausau off Hwy. 29 spread rapidly, destroying several buildings and damaging others.

The initial call was reported at about 3:20 p.m. Saturday at 143771 Packer Dr. in the town of Marathon. Crews from Marathon were the first to respond to a building that contained building materials and a pontoon boat. Emergency scanner traffic shows the shed was engulfed in flames when crews arrived, prompting a call for additional units to assist.

Crews from Riverside, SAFER, Wausau, Maine and Mosinee, along with the Salvation Army, were called to the blaze less than 10 minutes after the initial call came in. A short while later the Dept. of Natural Resources also responded to the scene, along with crews from Hamburg and Edgar.

Over the course of the next several hours heavy, black smoke filled the air as the fire consumed several buildings and more than two acres of land. Drivers stopped along Hwy. 29 to take photos and videos of the visible smoke and flames.

Nearby homeowners report significant heat damage to some buildings and fire officials say the extreme dry conditions made battling the blaze a challenge.

The cause of the fire has not yet been determined. No injuries were reported.