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The We Are Wisconsin headquarters in La Crosse, Wisconsin, was totally destroyed in a fire that started at 9:30 a.m. today and is still burning. There were staff in the building when the fire started, but all were evacuated and are safe. At this time, there is no indication of the cause of the fire.  

An article in the La Crosse Tribune has photos showing the  extent of the fire that spread to adjoining buildings.

State Representative Jennifer Shilling, who is running against Republican Senator Dan Kapanke in one of the state's recall elections, is going to need assistance following this fire. The recall election is less than two weeks away and this is going to seriously impact her get-out-the-vote effort.

If there is any additional news on the cause, I will update.

Update: Help We Are Wisconsin rebuild at Act Blue.

Update As requested, here is the Act Blue link to donate to Jennifer: Act Blue - Jennifer Shilling

Updates from this morning's La Crosse Tribune:

The La Crosse headquarters for We Are Wisconsin, a left-leaning political action committee, was a total loss, said group spokesman Kelly Steele.

Staffers were in the office when the fire broke out and escaped safely, he said. It’s too early for Steele to say how the group will function without a local headquarters with just 10 days left before the recall election between Democratic challenger Rep. Jennifer Shilling and Republican Sen. Dan Kapanke.

Around the corner, Shilling’s campaign staff was forced to evacuate their Fifth Avenue headquarters, which shares part of a wall with the destroyed building and which lost power Saturday. Shilling released a written statement praising firefighters and emergency workers for securing the area and allowing the staff to get out safely.

It will likely take days before investigators can determine a cause. Baker said vagrants have recently been spotted sleeping in the area, but fire inspector Helfrich said he has not ruled anything out.

While the rear building showed the greatest damage initially, that  doesn’t mean the fire began there, he said. That may have been a result of the  way that structure burned and collapsed.

The investigation will require interviewing all tenants, owners and  firefighters as well as sifting through piles of rubble

Originally posted to 1864 House on Sat Jul 30, 2011 at 06:24 PM PDT.

Also republished by Badger State Progressive.

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