BIRCHWOOD -- An early morning fire at Bear Tracks Bar and Grill in Birchwood resulted in a total loss of the structure and contents, said Birchwood Fire Department Chief Ken George.

Birchwood Fire Department was called out at 4:12a. Upon arrival at Bear Tracks, they found dense smoke coming from the building. They entered the building, but thick smoke and high heat forced them back out.

“About that time, fire broke through the north wall and we fought the fire from the exterior,” Chief George said. “Once the flames broke through, the building was engulfed pretty quickly.”

“Our municipal water supply couldn’t keep up, so we call for mutual aid from Exeland and Bear Lake/Haugen Fire Departments,” Chief George said. He estimated the fire was brought under control at around 7a.

Chief George said the State Fire Marshall would be at the scene by noon today (Tuesday). “We will give the Fire Marshall our reports and work together to figure out the cause of the fire.”

On the Bear Tracks Bar and Grill website this morning, owners Nate and Missy Wittmer said, “Thank you to the Birchwood and surrounding fire crews for their hours of work this early morning! Thank you to our wonderful employees for all your support through this tragedy.

“Bear Tracks is a total loss. The future is unknown at this time, but we will keep you informed.”

[Photos via Facebook; Sarah K.]

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