Report Faults Fire Officials in Death of Wis. Firefighter

There was a lack of control by fire departments at the scene of a blaze that took the life of a Colby firefighter in March, according to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.

Lt. Jamison Kampmeyer was battling a fire at the Abby Theatre in Abbotsford on March 4 when the roof collapsed, killing him and injuring four other firefighters.

The report into Kampmeyer's death found that neither the Colby nor Abbotsford fire departments had overall control of the firefighting effort, according to WSAW-TV.

Investigators from the state agency also found incident commanders did not follow proper communication procedures, which left Colby firefighters unaware of the hazards Abbotsford's firefighters encountered inside the structure.

"There was a lot of heat, a lot of smoke," Abbotsford Fire Chief Jody Apfelbeck told The Marshfield News Herald following the blaze. "It was a bad fire."

The newspaper reported that the owner of the historic theater checked the building's furnace at about 10:30 a.m. and saw nothing wrong.

<>p> Two hours later, the fire that would claim the life of Kampmeyer was reported.

The cause of the fire was later determined to be accidental by the Wisconsin State Fire Marshal.

Kampmeyer, who also was a Marathon County Sheriff's deputy, left behind three young children.