MONROE — Firefighters were on scene Wednesday morning battling a Code Red fire with visible flames coming from the roof at the building at the corner of 10th Avenue and 19th Street, home of the Horseshoe Saloon and the Iron Haus gym.
No one was hurt in the fire, but it caused "in excess of $75,000" in damage, mostly to the Iron Haus gym, Monroe Fire Chief Dan Smits said.
The cause appears to be related to an issue with a furnace. Firefighters were on scene nearly three hours.
A person entering the gym called at 9:42 a.m. to report the building was filled with smoke, Smits said. The Monroe Fire Department arrived in three minutes and called for assists from Juda, Orangeville, Monticello, New Glarus and South Wayne. Green County EMS was paged for an ambulance.
"I'm really glad it was found as quickly as it was. This was a big blessing to those business owners," Smits said.
The fire was located in the rear of the building that houses the Iron Haus business. It did not reach the attached residential apartments in the building, "at least not to affecting their occupancy," Smits said.
Sam Laws, operations manager of the Horseshoe Saloon, was outside the building Wednesday watching firefighters work. He said some smoke from the fire had entered the bar but he thought damage to the business would be minor.
Reached by phone late Wednesday morning, Joey VanMatre, co-owner of Iron Haus, said he was in Rockford when he got a call about the fire from his landlord. He was on his way to Monroe.
VanMatre said the fire likely originated in his furnace's exhaust system.
"The only thing that was different (today) is I turned on the furnace for the first time (this season). And it's the same furnace I've used for the past four years," VanMatre said.
The fire damaged computers, papers and other items in his office, including the system that runs the key fobs for customers to access his business. The gym equipment was spared. VanMatre expects insurance to cover damages, but the business is temporarily shutting down.
A post to the Horseshoe Saloon's Facebook page thanked customers for their concerns and messages.
"Everyone and everything is going to be okay!" the post stated. The bar planned to open later in the day. "New lunch special today: Smoked... well, everything."