Chippewa Falls moving forward after fire

CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wisc. (WEAU) - More than three months after a fire destroyed several businesses in downtown Chippewa Falls, the city and store owners are looking to move forward.

An empty lot on Spring Street is all that remains after the Aug. 8 fire destroyed the Hong Kong Chinese restaurant, the Touch of Class Ink tattoo parlor and four apartment units, harming a tenant.

With a cause still unknown, police said they suspect arson, but no arrests have been made.

City Planner Jayson Smith said the city hopes to buy the lot and the damaged tanning salon next door with a $500,000 state grant. It could convert the building into more office space for the S.E.H. Office moving in, with plans for a parking lot next door.

"If we just leave it like it is, it's definitely an eyesore. This gives us the ability to assemble the property and then put it to a better use," Smith said.

The Hong Kong restaurant is moving into an old bakery building, and touch of class is in a temporary spot, both on Bridge Street. Owner Morgan Crabb says the fire took more than their ink and needles.

"We're living off a third of the income we're used to. And our future's really unknown," Crabb said. "We're hoping to come back bigger and better. But it's just going to take some time."

Ted Jones lived here and suffered injuries in the fire, and died this month, but medical examiners said it was not a result of the fire.


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