News: Unity - Unity Country Cheese Plant Fire (5 July 1989)

Transcriber: Robert Lipprandt 

Surnames: Halvorson, Krueger, Molle

----Source: The Tribune-Phonograph (Abbotsford, WI) 7/03/2019

Originally published in the Tribune-Phonograph, July 5, 1989

Inspectors from the State Fire Marshal’s office are joining local and county officials this week in an attempt to determine what caused the fire that destroyed the Unity Country Cheese plant in the Village of Unity, June 20.

According to residents who saw smoke, the fire may have started near the office area on the southeast side of the plant sometime after 9 pm Thursday night. The Unity Fire Department answered a 9:30 fire siren and sent 14 men to the site.

Assistant Chief Jack Molle declared the building a total loss. He and his crew were on the scene until about 6:30 am Friday morning. They were assisted by volunteers from Colby and Spencer. Molle said a state fire marshal was looking over the site that day, and he was told the inspector would return July 5 for further investigation. Mark Krueger of the Marathon County Sherriff’s Department was also on the scene Friday morning, taking pictures and making notes. He said the department has been requested to assist in the investigation.

The concrete block building has a wood and tarpaper roof, and that is how the fire spread rapidly to engulf the entire building. The firefighters sprayed over 80,000 gallons on the fire from 43 tanker loads.

The building was owned by the Security State Bank. A bank spokesperson said Monday the bank’s insurance firm has been inspecting, but there was no estimate of damage to the building. The factory was leased to Arnie Halvorson, who spent seven months getting equipment together for his Unity Country Cheese operation. The cheese plant had been in operation for just two months.



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