- Fire officials continue their investigation of what sparked a New Year's Eve blaze destroying a popular Three Lakes strip club.
The fire broke out just after 7 p.m. New Year's Eve at Weasel's Exotic Entertainment just off U.S. Highway 45. The club was closed at the time of the fire.
Three Lakes Fire Chief Herb Stuckart told Newswatch 12 that firefighters saw flames leaping from the roof when the arrived on the scene Saturday evening.
This morning investigators spent their time looking for clues inside the charred remains of the exotic venue. The club had been closed for the holidays and not set to reopen until Thursday.
"It appears the fire may have originated near the stage area in the east part of the building," said Stuckart.
The walls were left standing, but the roof had caved in and everything inside appeared reduced to a char.
Short of calling it a total loss, Stuckart said the fire was intense and spread to all areas of the structure.
"We had 31 firefighters out here, and four personnel from the Vilas County RIT (Rapid Intervention Team)," he said. "Five surrounding departments assisted in the effort, and we used about 10,000 gallons getting the fire under control."
Firefighters took about two hours to put out the flames, staying on the scene until 4:30 a.m. Saturday ensuring the fire didn't rekindle.
Witness Ann Afeldt, dining at a restaurant across the street during the fire, called the scene "frightening".
Although no cause has been determined, Chief Stuckart said the fire appeared to have begun accidentally.
*Picture courtesy of Ann Afeldt.
Story By: Jenn Sullivan