Tribal Structures Torched in Western Wisconsin
Firefighters in Western Wisconsin responded to six fires over this past weekend. Now, the Sawyer County Sheriff's Office has a person in custody suspected of starting them all.
The first call was anonymous. A Sheriff's Office spokesperson said someone called at 11:19 Saturday (July 14) night to report a large fire across from the IGA store in the Town of Bass Lake. Firefighters from Lac Courte Oreilles, Bass Lake and Town of Hayward departments responded. So did Sawyer County deputies and Lac Courte Oreilles police officers.
"Upon arrival responders observed two fire scenes behind the Trading Post on County Highway K," said the spokesperson. "There was severe damage to the siding on the east side of the Trading Post. There was also severe damage to a storage type structure and all the contents within, including a van.
The second call came in that same night, at 11:43 p.m.. The spokesperson said the caller reported a "log cabin" on fire in Lac Courte Oreilles. When firefighters arrived, they discovered the "log cabin" was actually the tribe's Ceremonial Lodge.
"The building was fully engulfed upon arrival of responders," said the spokesperson. "The building was a total loss."
The third call came in the next afternoon. A man reported his sweat lodge had been burned down sometime the night before.
It didn't stop there. Three more fires were reported.
- Lac Courte Oreilles Honor the Earth Pow Wow Grounds
- Private sweat lodge on County Highway K in the town of Bass
- Ceremonial ring in the Town of Sand Lake
The spokesperson said a person of interest was taken into custody Saturday night.