Flames started in a new out building at WB Place, an historic leather tannery for deer, sheepskins, cowhide and other hunting leathers in downtown Hartford. The structure is only a month old and ceiling sprinklers were not yet installed. Fire fighters stopped the blaze before it could spread to the main building.
Employees left the tannery around noon on October 17 and no one was believed to be working at the time the fire started. Fire crews were dispatched the tannery at 19:40. The cause is under investigation and no one was injured. Officials prepared to evacuate nearby residents due to the chemicals housed in the business, but determined the action was not necessary because of the fire’s size and location.
The Hartford Fire Department regularly conducts drills at WB Place due to the highly volatile chemicals.
The tannery has been in operation for more than 120 years since it was founded in 1866 and claims to be Wisconsin’s oldest continuously working tannery.