Large Paper Warehouse Fire in Wisconsin

Risk Logic Inc. (RLI) is a consulting engineering company that provides Loss Prevention Services. Since 1997, we have been working in regions all over the world utilizing the most advanced and current standards.

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July 27th, 2022

COMBINED LOCKS, WI. – A large fire engulfed a paper warehouse on the morning of July 11th requiring one of the biggest emergency fire responses in Wisconsin’s history. The 120,000 square foot warehouse housed raw materials for paper production, with some paper bales weighing more than a ton. The nature of these combustible materials meant the fire spread easily and quickly over the large property. 

The paper warehouse prior to the fire on July 11th.

First responders realized more equipment and personnel was necessary upon arriving at the scene around 10:25 a.m. They proceeded to call agencies across the state to assist. In total, 67 agencies responded, with 700 emergency responders. After 26 hours and 6 million gallons of water, the enormous response effort was able to contain the fire with no injuries sustained, and no further damage to the surrounding area. Combined Lock Public Safety has reported that the cause of the fire is not suspicious and likely started from a trailer near the warehouse.

Combined Locks Fire photo 1

Fire Chief Ken Widenbauer, reported that there were no fire sprinklers in that part of the warehouse, as they weren’t initially required by outdated protocols. Fire doors minimized the blaze from reaching other areas of the warehouse. Widenbauer says, “Fire standards and fire safety have come a long way in the last 40 years. We’re looking at ways to mitigate the fire before we even arrive on scene”.

Fire crews from surrounding departments worked all Friday afternoon, through the night into Saturday before being able to put out a fire Sunday morning at a warehouse at 100 Prospect St. in Combined Locks.

Risk Logic can help mitigate fires like these through in-depth fire inspections which ensure that fire prevention systems are up to date and meet current standards. Preventative fire measures and up-to-date safety protocols are essential in warehouses like these, where the materials housed pose a high risk in the event of a fire. Find more information on paper making fire hazards here. Risk Logic inspections can support companies to upgrade sprinkler systems, in efforts to minimize or even prevent fire incidents. Find more information on adequate sprinkler system design and standards here.