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Lucky’s Bridge Motel Burns

On Sunday night, Lucky’s Bridge Motel was engulfed in flames.  11 fire departments responded, but the structure couldn’t be saved. Fortunately, there were no injuries to occupants, bystanders, or fire fighters.  Even the dog inside one of the rooms was rescued without incident.

The Timeline

The call came in at 8:09 pm that the motel was burning.

LFD Chief Bobby Annen responded directly to the fire from Harmony Grove. When he arrived, his deputy chief–who lives near the ferry–was already on the scene. At that point, flames had already engulfed the building and burned through the roof.

Prior to that, patrons from Fitz’s had smelled smoke as they were walking to their cars, but had assumed it was a campfire from a nearby cottage or home.  By the time anyone knew it was the motel burning, the fire had spread too deep into the structure to stop.

Chief Annen said the fire spread “faster than any other fire I’ve seen”.

The Cause

While an official investigation and determination have not been made, initial observations indicate that fire originated in a grill on the lake side of the motel. It appears that a grease fire on the grill flared up and spread to the structure.

The Approach

Lodi Fire Department was first on the scene, but 10 other departments were called in to assist.  Dane, Sauk, and Waunakee are commonly called in for support on large fires–just as Lodi supports them in similar situations.  The extent of the fire–and the risk to other close structures–led to calling in support from as far away as Pardeeville.

Okee doesn’t have fire hydrants, and drawing from the lake is a more complicated process than it would seem, and takes time and crew away from fighting the fire.  Until support could arrive to utilize the “dry hydrant”1This is a PVC pipe with a fire-department-friendly “head” leads down into the lake and allows trucks to draw water.  Once its running, a dry hydrant works similar to a standard hydrant.  However, it needs to be prepped and primed, to create a draft–as anyone who owns a well understands. Chief Annen had trucks run back to Lodi to top up from a city hydrant.

Local business owner Dan Dolson tended the hydrant and kept the trucks topped up. When Poynette arrived, Annen had them tap into the dry hydrant and then directed Prairie du Sac to use their specialized equipment to draw directly from the lake.

The Lodi ladder truck, by itself, needed 4 water tenders to keep it supplied with water, as it was putting out 10,000 gallons per minute.  As Annen said:  “The water never stopped flowing”.

After the flames were out, Chief Annen got permission from the owners to call in an excavator to pull the building down in order to catch any re-ignition before it could grow.  Meade Concrete came out and systematically pulled the building down.  As they did, fires within the walls and ceilings flared up–and were extinguished.

Crews finally left the scene around 2:00 am after assuring that nothing would flare up again.

Footnotes

Footnotes
1 This is a PVC pipe with a fire-department-friendly “head” leads down into the lake and allows trucks to draw water.  Once its running, a dry hydrant works similar to a standard hydrant.  However, it needs to be prepped and primed, to create a draft–as anyone who owns a well understands.

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