One fire-fighter was killed and four others were injured while battling a blaze that heavily damaged a 63-year-old movie theater in central Wisconsin.
The fire was reported around noon yesterday at the Abby Theatre in downtown Abbotsford, about 20 miles north of Marshfield. Fire Chief Jody Apfelbeck said three fire-fighters were trapped after a ceiling collapsed – and two others were hurt by falling bricks. Three people were treated at a Marshfield hospital and released by early last evening, and the other injured fire-fighter was expected to go home last night. There was no immediate word on where or how the fire started. The U-S Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and the state Fire Marshal are helping local officers investigate. The fire chief said the theatre’s owner checked the furnaces about an-hour-and-a-half before the blaze broke out, and there were no problems then. The four outside walls remained standing after the blaze, but Apfelbeck said the roof caved in. The rising smoke could be seen as far away as Colby, three miles to the south of Abbotsford. The blaze was well under control within three hours, but fire-fighters worked into last evening to handle small flare-ups. Almost three dozen personnel responded from four area fire departments.