Fire Investigation at Northern Steel

By: Colleen McPartlin
By: Colleen McPartlin

The president of Northern Steel Foundry in Wisconsin Rapids, Tom Nowak, finally got to go into the building Monday after it was nearly destroyed in a fire Saturday. Dangerous conditions kept crews from finishing the investigation so they were out there Monday assessing the damage.

They knocked down walls and lowered structures to let the investigation progress.

Det. Tad Wetterau of the Wisconsin Rapids Police Department says, "At this point we've contacted the Fire Marshal’s Office, which is a division of the criminal investigation."

But it's just in the initial stages, and Nowak doesn't want to speculate the dollar amount of damage until the investigation is finished.

The Det. Wetterau did gives us a hint.

He says, "I'm estimating from having done interviews with the owners [that it's] in the neighborhood of a million dollars."

From the outside, the Nowak did see that their heat treating operation was in the part that burned. In a company that makes steel castings for equipment like mining construction and oil field equipment that could be detrimental, but he's waiting to see if it can be saved.

Nowak says, "It's our plan to keep going. The back end of the building is where most of the employees operate; that's still in tact."

Nowak says once he gets an accurate estimate of the amount of damage. Then he'll start planning to get Northern Steel up and running again.