A large fire Jan. 25 in Lake Delton destroyed a dormitory under construction at the Wilderness Resort that would have housed foreign workers. 

The dormitory, planned as housing for students working in Wisconsin Dells through the J-1 visa program, was determined to be a total loss, with damage in excess of $5 million, according to a Delton Fire Department press release.

Fire crews from nine fire departments worked to protect neighboring structures, but two sustained damage. The neighboring J-1 dormitory was evacuated, according to the release. No injuries were reported. Employees evacuated from the neighboring dormitory were allowed to return about two hours later.

A construction crane on the site affected by the fire caused a partial collapse, the release said.

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The building was scheduled for completion by the end of May to house Wilderness Resort J-1 workers.

Crews remain on location monitoring the scene. The cause of the fire is unknown and under investigation by the Delton Fire Department, Lake Delton Police Department and Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation.

The Kilbourn, Baraboo, Reedsburg, Lyndon, North Freedom, Mauston, Sauk City, Portage and Prairie Du Sac fire departments assisted at the scene as well as the Lake Delton Police Department, Sauk County Sheriff’s Department and Wisconsin State Patrol. The Dells-Delton, Reedsburg, Baraboo and Sauk City EMS also assisted. The Salvation Army, Lake Delton Water Utility, Lake Delton Public Works and Alliant Energy also lent aid, according to the release.

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