Fire burns rooms, displaces 2 families at Country Squire Inn

Estimated $250K damage to structure
Fire burns rooms, displaces 2 families at Country Squire Inn
Kourtney Ingram‎
Fire at Country Squire Inn

A fire Wednesday morning damaged the Country Squire Inn on Highway 12 in Wisconsin Dells and left two families of at least five people total, without a home.

The building, 831 Wisconsin Dells Parkway in Lake Delton, is a 13-unit motel.

“When we first got on location, there was visible fire, visible smoke and a lot of people running around. It was chaotic, as you can expect. But fire crews went to work quickly and did a nice job with an initial fire attack,” said Delton Fire Chief Darren Jorgenson.

Jorgenson said the fire was contained to vacant apartment units. Three motel units were substantially damaged, and all the units sustained heat, smoke and water damage, the fire department said. Two buildings adjacent to the units were not damaged.

He said investigators believe the fire originated in the basement, but the cause hasn’t been determined.

Robbie Munch has lived at the Country Squire Inn for the last year and a half, and was shocked when he woke up to smoke outside his window.

“I didn’t want to lose my house there. It was a scary thought,” Munch said.

Munch said he called 911 around 9:15 a.m. The fire department said the fire was knocked down by 10:15 a.m.

Fire burns rooms, displaces 2 families at Country Squire Inn

After crews showed up, firefighters were not able to contain the flames to one room, and confirmed the 13-unit building is a total loss.

The rooms have been a home for many students who come to the Dells for summer work. Manager Gregory Ziech said he’s already received several calls for availability.

“We were getting ready to go through the rooms, make the beds, go through the furniture and get the old stuff out,” Ziech said.

The fire came right before the motel’s peak season, putting Ziech in a tough position.

“Just last week I had 32 people call. Like, yeah, we have room, but now what can I say. I’m trying to help you get a place to live, but now I can’t,” Ziech said.

He said it will be sad not to have students around this summer.

“A lot of students came through here from all over the world. A lot of good memories. It’s heartbreaking, very heartbreaking,” Ziech said.

The motel was recently bought by new owners, who said they don’t know what will happen with the destroyed building at this point.

Fire crews remained at the motel for six hours knocking down hot spots and investigating, Delton Fire Department said. The estimated damage to the structure is $250,000.

There were no injuries, according to the report. Two of the motel units were occupied at the time of the fire and those tenants are being helped arrange alternate housing. The electric service to an adjacent 10-unit motel building was affected by the fire; all of those units were occupied at the time and those tenants are receiving help finding alternate housing, too, Delton Fire said Wednesday afternoon.

Lake Delton fire and police departments, along with multiple area departments and the Salvation Army were called to the scene. The Delton Fire Department thanked assisting departments, the volunteers at Salvation Army and the Bobbers Island Grill and Monks Bar and Grill for providing food and refreshments to the firefighters during the incident.