- 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.
ACROSS THE NORTHWOODS - Do bugs seem to be everywhere in your home, even though there's snow outside? One type of bug in Wisconsin spends the winter inside our houses! They look like Lady Bugs, but they are actually not native to this country.
"They're actually called a multi-colored Asian Lady Beetle. They can be anywhere from a pale yellow to a darker orange and they have black spots on them but you'll see some that don't have spots," says Kerri Ison, UW Oneida County Extension.
RHINELANDER - Our record breaking snow storm left more than 6,000 people across the Northwoods without power.
WPS had to rely on 20 extra crews from Green Bay, Wausau and Menominee to restore power.
But getting to the outages was a challenge.
A representative for WPS says workers are expecting even more outages to be reported.
"Not all of the back roads are plowed yet and that's where a lot of outages are located," said Leah Van Zile, WPS Community Relations leader. "Throughout the day as the temperatures warm, we expect to receive additional calls due to the unloading of snow off of the tree branches."
Eagle River had one of the highest number of customers affected by the outages.
Representatives for WPS say this was one of the hardest winters they've had to deal with.
"We've had some really, really severe wind chills which has really made the temperatures below zero. Typically, only in emergencies do we work in those conditions," said Van Zile. "But pretty much any other time, whether it's a rain storm, a snow storm, a wind storm, our guys are out there working, getting that power back on."
The number of outages dropped below 4,000 since earlier today.
If you're still without power to call 1800-450-7240.
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