Photo courtesy of Elliott Johnson

By Shereen Siewert

Multiple agencies responded Tuesday to a blaze at the Verso Paper Mill in Wisconsin Rapids, with heavy smoke and flames seen pouring from the facility.

Sheriff’s officials are asking residents to avoid the area . There’s no word yet on injuries or the cause of the blaze.

The facility, the largest paper mill in Central Wisconsin, shut down operations last year, resulting in hundreds of job losses in Wisconsin Rapids. Verso sold the company’s Duluth mill earlier this month.

Over the past few months a group of timber professionals sought to purchase the Wisconsin Rapids mill in an effort to resume operations. The Consolidated Cooperative was formed in March, a group that would push that effort forward, but no deals have been finalized.

This is a developing story that will be updated.