No New Info on Deadly Fire Investigation at Abby Theatre

By: Liz Hayes Email
By: Liz Hayes Email

No new information was released Wednesday during a press conference at the Abbotsford Fire Department regarding the deadly fire investigation at the Abby Theatre Sunday.

Local and federal agents are investigating what caused the fire that cost volunteer firefighter and Marathon County Sheriff's Deputy Jamison Kampmeyer, 34, his life and injured four other firefighters.

Jody Apfelbeck, the Abbotsford Fire Chief, says the investigation is on-going, and that along with local officials, 12 Department of Criminal Investigation agents and 25 agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Exposives are checking the scene.

“ATF is investigating this tragic fire jointly with the State of Wisconsin-Department of Justice-Division of Criminal Investigation-State Fire Marshal’s Office,” said Bernard J. Zapor, ATF Special Agent in Charge of the St. Paul Field Division. “We will work together in partnership to determine the origin and cause of this fatal fire.”

About two dozen agents spent Tuesday taking meticulous notes and photographing the theater from every angle.

Because Abby Theatre was a small venue, it may only take a few days to determine the cause.

Jamison Kampmeyer was killed when the theater's roof collapsed. Two other firefighters also became trapped underneath, but they were treated of their injuries and released from the hospital. Two others were injured by falling debris.

Now the community is grieving the loss of a husband and father of three, and the 62-year-old theater.

Marathon County Sheriff Randy Hoenisch, who hired Kampmeyer nearly eight years ago, says he was the kind of person who makes the community better.

"He just had that knack of getting along really well with people and he was a bright guy who always did the right thing," Sheriff Hoenisch said.

Dennis Kramer, who owns County Market in Abbotsford, says he used to go to the theater as a kid, and was shocked to hear of the tragedy.

"It was a terrible thing to have happened," he said. "Being from a small area, and when you hear who the firefighter was that died, most of us knew him very well," Kramer said.

ATF estimates the theater's damage to be $300,000 and $500,000.

Though the Abby Theater, located at 216 N. 1st St, is destroyed firefighters were able to save one piece of memorabilia, a movie poster. The name of the film is "Brave."

Kampmeyer's colleagues will sign it, and it will be given to his family.

Funeral services for Kampmeyer are set to take place at 11 a.m. Friday at Colby High School. A burial will take place at St. Mary's Cemetery.

A memorial fund for his family has been set up at Integrity State Bank in Wausau.

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