Subscribe for 33¢ / day
Arson in Lake Delton

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms announced Wednesday that a fire last Thursday that destroyed the under-construction Wilderness Resort dormitory in Lake Delton has been determined to be caused by arson.

Delton Fire Department/Contributed

The Jan. 25 fire that destroyed the Wilderness Resort dormitory under construction was determined to be an arson by the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.

The Wisconsin Arson Insurance Council is offering a reward of up to $10,000 to anyone who can provide information leading to the arrest and conviction of those involved, according to a press release.

“Because the investigation is still open, we can’t reveal the details on how we were able to determine that it was arson,” said Ashlee Sherrill, ATF public information officer.

She said the National Response Team uses scientific evidence in order to determine whether it’s an arson or not. The team wants to keep this an open-ended investigation, hoping that some of the information from the public can help piece things together, Sherrill said.

Anyone with information, is asked to call 1-888-ATF-FIRE, email or submit an anonymous tip through the ReportIt app.

Wisconsin Arson Insurance Council provides rewards of up to $5,000 based on whether the information provided leads to the identification of the person or persons responsible for the fire. ATF is contributing the other $5,000, the release stated.

The ATF joined the Delton Fire Department, Lake Delton Police Department and Wisconsin Department of Justice State Fire Marshal’s Office in the investigation Jan. 26.

The dorm was being built to house foreign students through the J-1 visa program. Typically in recent years more than 3,000 such students work at Dells-area tourist attractions, hotels and restaurants.

The building was a complete loss, estimated at $5 million, according to a Delton Fire Department press release.

Delton Fire Chief Darren Jorgenson said since the dorm was a complete loss, they wanted to save neighboring buildings before turning their hoses to the main building. 

Nine fire crews responded to the scene and no injuries were reported. 

The hotel remains unaffected by the fire and open for business, Jorgenson reported Wednesday in an email.