Damage is estimated at $375,000 to the Junction House Tavern located at County J and State Highway 81. The building was destroyed by a fire that started in the first- floor bar area early this morning.
Area residents have reported smelling smoke in the area as early as 4:30 and the Monroe Fire Department was called at 5:27 a.m. When the on-duty officer (Chief Rausch) arrived approximately five minutes later, the first-floor was engulfed in fire and the second and third floors were charged with heavy smoke.
Firefighters initially made an interior attack in the first-floor, and knocked the fire down. It had extended into numerous spaces between ceilings, floors and in the walls.
Due to the danger, the chief ordered all firefighters out of the building.
The fire was under control by 9:30 a.m. The building was ultimately ordered demolished because of structural instability. The cause of the fire may never be known due to the damage. However, it is believed to have started in the first-floor bar area. The Monroe Fire Department implemented a MABAS second-level box alarm and was assisted by the following Juda, Browntown, Argyle, Albany, and Brodhead from Wisconsin and Cedarville, Orangeville, and McConnell fire departments from Illinois. Green County EMS, Monroe Police Department, and Green County Sheriff's Office, Alliant Energy, Ferrell Gas and E& N Hughes Construction also assisted at the scene.
The City of Monroe ladder was called to the scene because of the height and location of the building. Its crew were instrumental in finally controlling and extinguishing the fire.
This is the third time that the Monroe Fire Department has activated the MABAS Box Alarm System since its implementation in Green County five weeks ago. It provides for a very efficient and organized response that brings equipment from multiple departments from a wide area rather than stripping all of the resources in the local area.