NEW INFORMATION: Suspect in bar fire lived in apartment upstairs

By: WEAU 13 News Staff Email
By: WEAU 13 News Staff Email

LADYSMITH, Wis. (WEAU) – The Ladysmith Fire Chief says the man who is accused of starting The Finish Line sports bar and a nearby laundromat on fire lived above the bar.

Brett S. Cox, 26, was arrested for arson and recklessly endangering safety on Saturday.

The fire chief says Cox lives in the apartment directly above the bar with another adult and three children. Investigators say Cox called 911 to report the fire. The fire chief wouldn't say how the fire started, or what they believe Cox's motivation was. The department plans to release more information later this week.

Police say no one was injured in the fire. The damage estimate is still unknown.
LADYSMITH, Wis. (LADYSMITH POLICE DEPARTMENT PRESS RELEASE)-- On March 7, 2013 at approximately 7:18 pm the Ladysmith Police Department, Ladysmith Fire Department and the Bruce Fire Department were dispatched to a structure fire at 111 W Worden Ave in the City of Ladysmith. As a result of the fire three apartments, the Finish Line Sports Bar and a nearby Laundromat were damaged.

After initial investigation at the scene the Ladysmith Police Department and Ladysmith Fire Department requested the assistance of the Wisconsin Department of Justice-Division of Criminal Investigation.

After a joint investigation involving the Wisconsin Department of Justice- Division of Criminal Investigation (State Fire Marshal’s), Ladysmith Fire Department and the Ladysmith Police Department Brett S. Cox age 26 of Ladysmith was taken into custody and referred to the Rusk County District Attorney’s Office for Arson and Recklessly Endangering Safety.

Damage estimates from the fire at this time are still unknown.

(WEAU) - Ladysmith fire crews battled a fire at a bar Thursday night.

Ladysmith Fire Chief Dave Tuma said the fire is at the Finish Line Bar, which is on Worden Avenue. He said no one was hurt.

There's major damage to the upper floor of the building.

Mark Chandler said he got a call last night from a friend saying his daughter's Ladysmith apartment building, above the Finish Line sports bar was on fire.

"I hobbled out to the car as fast as I could, to get over there and I pulled up and the place was completely ablaze, flames shooting everywhere," he said. "I knew if somebody was in there, they weren't going to make it out alive."

He said he tried to call her, but didn't hear that she was ok for several hours.

"I'm thankful nobody died and I'm sorry for the man that lost his business."

Next door to the Finish Line, Ann Emmons, owner of Annie's Hair and Barber Care said she's lucky to have her business standing, after opening just two months ago.

"I'm just thankful that my business is fine, but I just hope the best for them," Emmons said.

Fire chief Dave Tuma said the fire started in the upstairs apartment and that no one was up there at the time of the fire.

Everyone in the bar was able to get out and about dozen firefighters had the fire under control in about 30 minutes.

As for a cause of the fire, Tuma said right now, they're working to answer that question.

The building is owned by Jayne and Don Sanderson, and it remains to be seen if the Finish Line can be rebuilt.

"We're hoping good things for jane and don and hopefully they can rebuild and start over again," Emmons said.

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