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UPDATE: Fire destroys next-generation Glenhaven complex

News River Falls,Wisconsin 54022
UPDATE: Fire destroys next-generation Glenhaven complex
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

GLENWOOD CITY -- A pre-dawn fire Tuesday destroyed a large portion of a $9.7 million building complex under construction, which would have eventually replaced the 44-bed Glenhaven Nursing Home.

Firefighters and apparatus from at least 20 departments, including aerial ladders from Menomonie and River Falls, were at the scene into mid-morning. Many of the agencies brought tankers, used to shuttle water to drop tanks which fed a large aerial stream.

The existing nursing home, attached to the new building under construction was largely unaffected by the fire although a news release issued by the St. Croix County Sheriff's Department said residents had been relocated within the building to keep them safe.

There were no reported injuries as of 10:30 a.m.

Firefighters were using a commons area in the existing nursing home to warm up and take breaks.

Shawn DeWitt, a director with the privately held, non-profit Glenhaven Nursing Home board, captured photos of the building fully involved in flames shortly after 5 a.m. He said web cameras -- positioned to keep the community updated on construction progress -- recorded fire breaking through a roof more than an hour earlier.

DeWitt said the $9.7 million project was about 50 percent complete and was on track for move-in by mid-June.

Royal Construction, of Eau Claire, is general contractor on the job.

"We're so devastated," said City Clerk Shari Rosenow of the fire. "It's like nothing we've ever experienced. It's very, very sad."

DeWitt said he and other board members were "still reeling" from the scope of destruction.

The board was expected to hold an emergency meeting Tuesday evening to decide what its next steps will be.

Among the departments sending water tankers or engines to assist Glenwood City firefighers were United Fire's Baldwin, Hammond and Woodville stations, Menomonie, New Richmond, Roberts-Warren, Hudson, Ellsworth, River Falls, Spring Valley, Deer Park, Prairie Farm, Colfax, Boyceville, Clear Lake and the Chippewa Fire District.