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VIDEO REPORT: Platteville Fire Remains Under Investigation

UPDATED Tuesday, August 28, 2012 --- 8:15 a.m.

From the Platteville Fire Department:

Saturday, August 25th at 10:05 a.m. Platteville Firefighters were paged to a fire at 95 North 2nd Street which is home to Chicago's Best , a popular local restaurant.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, they found heavy smoke coming from a second floor window.

Firefighters made several interior attacks before being forced out after portions of the roof started to collapse. The fire then spread through the roof of the southern part of the business to the third story of the north section.

Platteville Police and employees of Chicago's Best were able to evacuate all the tenants from the nine apartments on second and third floors of the building.

A total of fourteen tenants were displaced by the fire in the building.

Firefighters also rescued a cat and a dog from two different apartments during the incident.

The report that the building would have to be torn down on Monday is untrue.

Fire officials and the property owner's insurance company will make that assessment early this week.

According to Chief David Izzard, the cause of the fire is undetermined.

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UPDATED: Monday, August 27, 2012 --- 6:14 p.m.
REPORTER: Chris Woodard

Tonight some UW-Platteville students are scrambling to find a place to live after a fire destroys their apartments.

One week before classes start they've lost almost everything.

A truck and two backpacks are all John Pollock has left.

He says, "It's just one thing after another, something else comes along."

After four years in the military, Pollock was trying to start a new chapter by enrolling in college.

The plan was to move forward with his life. Now it won't be easy.

Saturday a fire destroyed the building he was living in.

According to UW Platteville staff as many as 14 students could be without a home after a fire ripped through the downtown building.

Building co-owner Judy Grimes says, "It's like a dream that you want to wake up from and find out this isn't true."

Grimes also owns the well known Chicago's Best restaurant downstairs.

She says, "This was going to be the week we were going to welcome our kids back."

The University is stepping up to help, offering temporary housing, food and small loans.

They're also working on setting up a fundraiser because they've already taken calls from people looking to help.

Chancellor Dennis Shields says, "They're our students. That's the fundamental thing. I don't care where they live, where they're coming from, they're ours."

Pollock was one of four students that had already moved in. His apartment was full. He was out of the military and on his own.

He says, "Kind of having a home and starting on a new path of sorts."

It's a path that now has more obstacles than he anticipated, but one he's still happy to be walking.

He says, "With my experience, seeing how rough others have it, it could be worse. Some one could have gotten worse. Nothing is going to stop me from doing this next chapter."

A challenge for the University now is getting in touch with all the students affected.

Since many were planning to move in later this week some still may not know their apartment is gone.

Add to that the challenge of finding a place to live one week before school starts when most apartments are already rented and it will be a tough start to the school year for them.

Today we've also learned an insurance company is bringing in a structural engineer to look at the building. The fire department got inside yesterday and the structural damage was not as bad as they'd originally thought.

There is a chance the entire building will not have to be torn down as originally thought.

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UPDATED: Saturday, August 25, 2012 --- 8:40p.m.

Release from City of Platteville:

The Platteville Fire Department has been fighting a fire today at the Chicago’s Best building, 95 N. 2nd Street in Platteville since approximately 10:00 a.m. this morning. The fire began in a second floor southwest apartment above the restaurant, but the cause of the fire has not yet been determined. Smoke alarms were working in the building and all residents were safely evacuated, including a dog and a cat. Platteville EMS assisted on the scene starting at approximately 10:30 a.m. and was released from the scene just before 7:00 p.m.

The building is severely damaged and will need to come down in the next few days. Fire chief, Dave Izzard, stated he can’t get the heavy equipment here until Monday to begin taking the building down. “There is so much unsafe as far as the weight of water, collapse of roof and walls, burned stuff in the way, that we can’t go inside the building which is why we need the heavy equipment to kind of tear off the top floor to make sure the fire is out, and from there we may have to tear down the next floor.”

Residents in the apartments upstairs as well as in two apartments in an adjacent building are currently displaced and the American Red Cross is assisting them. No other buildings were damaged directly by the fire, to the best knowledge of the fire department, but some did suffer water and smoke damage. A more accurate assessment of damages will be available next week.

Platteville Fire Department was assisted on scene today by Cuba City Fire, Dickeyville Fire, Belmont Fire, Lancaster Fire, and Livingston Fire departments. The Platteville Police Department was also on scene directing traffic and keeping spectators at a safe distance. The collaboration of the various organizations and departments helped make today’s challenge a safe one.

Platteville EMS had two crews on scene all day and were assisted from the Cuba City EMS and Grant County Technical Rescue. There were approximately 20 EMTs on scene throughout the day offering rehab services. They monitored pulse, heart rate, body temperature, and ensure proper hydration for all the firefighters, having served approximately 60 firefighters, for a total of about 180 rehab visits. EMS wanted to thank all the businesses and community for their support in bring in food and beverages; Los Amigos provided ice and restroom facilities, Subway, the VFW, the Elks Club, and Milio’s all provided food. There are so many people to thank that helped out all the volunteers today that weren’t mentioned.

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UPDATED: Saturday, August 25, 2012 --- 7:30 p.m.

Several fire departments have battled a fire at building in downtown Platteville for much of the day.

The building is home to a restaurant and several apartments

It is located at the intersection of North 2nd Street and East Mineral Street.

We're told the building is more than 100 years old.

Dale Jacobs owns a neighboring business.

He says, "Obviously with older buildings they're going to go up a lot quicker than newer buildings."

People gathered to watch as crews fought the fire.

The well known Chicago's Best Restaurant was in the lower level of the building.

The owner tells us there are also 9 apartments above the restaurant.

The fire started around 10 o'clock this morning and people were in the building at the time but all were able to get out safely.

Because of the size of the fire neighboring buildings are also suffering damage.

Jacobs says, "It's a shock to the community and Platteville and 2nd Street and as always we'll rebuild. I just feel bad for the owners of Chicago's best because they're great people and their business is very good."

Police say no one was hurt in the fire

Tonight the fire department says 2nd Street will remain closed but businesses on the west side of the road are open.

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Posted Saturday, August 25, 2012 --- 1:45 p.m.

Several fire departments are battling a fire at Chicago's Best --- located at the intersection of North Second Street and East Mineral Street.

Several apartments are above the restaurant.

We are told no one was hurt.

We have a photographer at the scene, gathering more information.

Police are urging everyone to avoid this area at this time.


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