Fire likely started on bed

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The apartment building behind Rowdy’s in downtown Prairie du Chien became fully engulfed with fire late Tuesday night. All occupants eventually got out safely. For more information and another photo, see page 4. (Photo by Billy Feilbach)

By Correne Martin


The Aug. 31 apartment building fire on North Main Street in Prairie du Chien likely started on a bed in a bedroom in the southwest corner of the house. However, the specific cause is not known.

There were four people in the house at the time, and police did a “great job getting them out,” Prairie du Chien Fire Chief Tad Beutin said. 

"They reacted how most people would and busted out the windows. The fire was fully involved by the time [the fire department] arrived on scene," Beutin said. 

Beutin added that his department was joined on scene by their partner departments, Bridgeport and McGregor. They were all notified by a Mutual Aid Box Alarm System, which is why Fennimore Fire was also initially paged to the scene but called off en route. "It was very well coordinated. Everyone worked well together to get the fire out and nobody got hurt," he said.

The firefighters spent most of their efforts chasing the fire throughout the building due to a number of additions put on the home, he noted. 

Initally, he mentioned, the fire's origin may have appeared as though it began outside; although, after consulting police body cam and city camera video, it became clear it started on the bed.

Estimated damages are approximately $150,000 to the building's exterior and about $50,000 to the contents. "It was a total loss," Beutin stated. 

Several Go Fund Me pages for the apartment’s occupants were started not long after the fire destroyed all of their belongings. To see how you might help, visit: or

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