Funeral arrangements set for fallen firefighter; venue changed

By: Aaron Dimick, WEAU 13 News Staff Email
By: Aaron Dimick, WEAU 13 News Staff Email

ABBOTSFORD, Wis. (WEAU) --Funeral arrangements are set for a firefighter who died from injuries he got when a roof collapsed during a fire in Abbotsford.

The Colby Fire Department says a visitation will be held for Jamison Kampmeyer on Thursday, March 8 from 4-8 p.m. at the Colby High School.

The funeral is set for Friday, March 9 at 11 a.m. at the Colby High School. Emergency vehicles are welcome to attend. All Fire Fighters and Sworn Officers wishing to attend are asked to arrive at the high school by 9 a.m. A Funeral procession will be conducted to the cemetery immediately following the service. Any questions can be directed to Lt. Greg Bean at 715-261-1200.

Kampmeyer was a Colby volunteer firefighter, Marathon County Sheriff’s Deputy and father of three.

A memorial fund has been established at a Wausau bank in honor of Kampmeyer. The family of Jamison Kampmeyer and the Marathon County Deputy Sheriff’s Benevolent Association established the fund at Integrity First Bank, 101 Grand Ave., Wausau. Donations can be made at the bank. Contact Terri Knoeck at 715-847-4806 for more information.

ABBOTSFORD, Wis. (WEAU) -- WEAU 13 News has obtained the name of the local firefighter who passed away fighting a devastating movie theater fire.

His name is Jamison Kampmeyer.

He’s a Colby volunteer firefighter, Marathon County Sheriff’s Deputy and father of three.

Kampmeyer is just one of five firefighters who had the roof of the Abby Theater collapse on top of them Sunday.

Abbotsford Fire Chief Jody Apfelbeck gave out the latest word Monday on the fire that’s rocked the community.

“There's a lot of confusion right now as to why it had to happen,” Apfelbeck said.

The fire chief said while attacking flames from inside the theater, the call went out to crews to get out of the building but some didn’t get the warning in time.

“The roof collapsed, trapping three firefighters inside. One firefighter, Jamison Kampmeyer of Colby, a volunteer with the Colby fire Department and a deputy with the Marathon County Sheriff's Department was fatally injured,” Apfelbeck said.

Kampmeyer, 34, leaves behind a wife and three young children.

“My thoughts go the fire department. They lost a great man. My thoughts go out to the family as well,” Apfelbeck said.

The Marathon County Sheriff’s Department said Kampmeyer was a patrol deputy and was a SWAT team EMT with the department.

He had been on the job since 2004.

Apfelbeck said four other injured firefighters from Abbotsford and Colby have been treated and released.

While agents from several federal and state agencies came to investigate, he said this is no indication of foul play.

“Any time there is a firefighter fatality, they come and do a complete investigation with us to get a full cause of the fire,” Apfelbeck said.

The tragedy is something people are talking about all over town.

And as they grieve the loss of one of their own, many are coming to terms with the possible loss of the Abby Theater, a downtown landmark that holds so many memories.

The movie theater has been in use since 1949.

“It's been here for quite a while, quite a few movies seen in it. I'm surprised and worried for the firefighters and things like that,” said Jon Sunbeyer of Abbotsford.

Longtime Abbotsford resident George Kelsey said the devastating fire is something the entire community is grieving over.

“This theater was built right before I was born. And I would expect everyone in the community has gone to this theater one time or another. It was a central part of the city,” Kelsey said.

“I'm sure it's going to have an effect on the community for a while,” Sunbeyer said.

Apfelbeck said the cause of the fire is still under investigation, and the movie theater owners are fully cooperating with investigators.

“We've gotten support from other fire departments. We’re taking it one day at a time,” Apfelbeck said.

ABBOTSFORD, Wis. (WEAU) -- One firefighter is dead after a devastating fire in Clark County.

The fire crews were inside a historic movie theater as the roof came crashing down on them.

WEAU 13 News has the latest on the fire that took one man's life and rocked an entire community.

35 firefighters from four local departments battled the blaze for several hours Sunday at the Abby Theater in downtown Abbotsford.

"Speaking to the owner, he said he was here at 10:30, turned up the furnaces to get ready for this afternoon's movies and he was later called and said his theater was engulfed in fire," said Abbotsford Fire Chief Jody Apfelbeck.

Apfelbeck said while attacking flames from inside the theater, the unthinkable happened.

"The call was made shortly before that to evacuate the building and not everyone made it out in time. They were inside the building when the roof collapsed," Apfelbeck said.

The fire chief said one firefighter from Abbotsford and three from Colby were taken by ground and helicopter to St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield.

The Clark County Coroners Office said a male firefighter passed away from injuries in the fire.

That firefighter has been identified as a member of the Colby Fire Department.

Afpelbeck said two are still in the hospital but one has been treated and released.

The fire has pushed three neighboring families out of their homes.

Apartment building owner Brian Haines said they can come back after water and smoke damage is repaired.

"We've made arrangements to get every single one of them into a hotel until we need to take care of what needs to be done," Haines said.

Dozens of people gathered to watch firefighters fight the blaze.

They said they're very sad to see a downtown landmark go up in flames.

Bonnie Marcott of Colby said she has lots of fond memories of the theater.

"Just utter shock because it's just another business gone out of the community. I kind of know the owners and my heart goes out to them," Marcott said.

After snuffing out most of the flames, the front of the movie house was demolished for the safety of pedestrians and drivers.

"Right now we have no cause. We'll be looking into the heating system, seeing if there's something there that could have caused it," Apfelbeck said.

The names of the firefighters have not yet been released.

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