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Sturgeon Bay bar destroyed in massive fire, one body found

Police said one body has been found in the rubble
Butch's Bar Fire
Posted at 6:01 AM, Feb 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-24 14:35:52-05

STURGEON BAY, Wis — A body has been found in the rubble of Butch's Bar in Sturgeon Bay following a fire early Tuesday morning, police said.

Sturgeon Bay police said they're working to identify the victim. Police are still searching for another person who lived in a room above the bar and is unaccounted for.

Nine emergency units responded to a fire at Butch's Bar, found in the 100 block of S. 3rd Avenue, around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday. Firefighters spent hours battling the fire. Crews continued to work at the scene throughout Tuesday afternoon.

Police said one person was sent to a burn center for injuries.

“Now it’s a joint investigation with us and the state to try and find out an origin, and that’s why those ladies and gentlemen are downstairs with our investigative crew," said Dan Brinkman, Sturgeon Bay assistant police chief.

Brinkman said the integrity of the building is "very compromised" and unstable, making it difficult to search further.

"From what I was told, they don’t want to send anyone inside those walls,"Brinkman said. "They don’t know if they’re going to collapse or how long they’re going to remain upright.”

The Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation is assisting in the investigation.

Citing the building's owner, Sturgeon Bay Police said there are 20 rooms above the bar, nine of which were occupied at the time of the fire. Brinkman said the United Way of Door County and the American Red Cross of Wisconsin is working with those who are displaced.

The aftermath of a devastating fire at Butch's Bar in Sturgeon Bay. Feb. 22, 2022.
The aftermath of a devastating fire at Butch's Bar in Sturgeon Bay. Feb. 22, 2022.

According to Popelka Trenchard Glass, a glass art studio near the bar, the area around the bar is shut down.

The owner of Popelka Trenchard Glass says the streets have been cordoned off. Additionally, the water from fighting the fires has frozen up on Nebraska Street. It's prompted the glass art studio to close for the day.

Sturgeon Bay police said the investigation into the fire at Butch's Bar is ongoing.