U-W La Crosse officials say an electrical problem is what apparently caused a weekend fire in a nearly century-old campus building with offices and athletic facilities.
The fire started in a basement storage space in Wittich Hall, where a wire conduit had broken away from a wall. Facilities director Matt Lewis said the conduit might have been damaged at one point – and he does not blame the age of the building. Wittich Hall was built in 1916 to house the physical education program at U-W La Crosse. Chancellor Joe Gow said the structure has a lot of old wood inside – so officials were very concerned. State investigators are expected to examine Wittich Hall today. The building is expected to be closed for about a month for clean-up work and repairs. Gow says the repairs will be less expensive than in Drake Hall, a La Crosse campus dorm that was damaged by fire in January. That blaze closed the dorm for almost an entire semester, and the damage was close to three-million dollars.