Tavern operator died trying to save friendsWisconsin News
The owner of a burned-out tavern in Blanchardville died while trying to save three others who were killed.
BLANCHARDVILLE -- The owner of a burned-out tavern in Blanchardville died while trying to save three others who were killed.
Authorities said Daniel Hardekopf, 45, was found in a stairwell on the lower level of the three-story building and died later at a Monroe hospital.
His girlfriend Jelayne Hughes, 44, was found on the second floor apartment level, along with two of the couple's mutual friends: Brian Monte, 34, and Cody Olson, 23.
The fire was reported just after 3:20 a.m. Monday in a building that housed the Silver Dollar Saloon, which Hardekopf and Hughes operated. According to Wheeler News service, Monte and Olson were staying in the couple's apartment after a night of poker and watching football.
Duane Hanson, the building's insurer and a long-time friend, said Hardekopf leased the bar for a year and a half, and he was in the process of buying the 106-year-old building.
Damage could exceed $300,000.
The fire was thought to have started on the second floor, but the cause has not been determined. Federal and state agents are helping local authorities investigate.