Commentary: Wisconsin's great butter and cheese fire of 1991

  • Source: Wisconsin State Farmer
  • Published: 05/13/2022 12:00 AM

PHOTOS: I admit that I didn't remember, but my friend Lois Seymour did, that it was the 30th anniversary of a monstrous fire that broke out on May 3, 1991, at Madison's Central Storage & Warehouse Co.. It was later proclaimed to have been Madison's biggest fire ever by fire department officials. The fire at the huge food storage facility on Cottage Grove Road and Highway 51/151 in east Madison was later attributed to a forklift battery malfunction. The resulting blaze at the sprawling 500,000 square foot site took more than a week to extinguish because of burning insulation and some 20 million pounds of what we referred to as “government butter, cheese and meat". Madison Fire Department Chief Steven Davis had been with Madison Fire Department for just a couple years.


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