Fire destroys two businesses

(First published in the April 11, 2019 issue of City Pages)

Police have arrested a man suspected of arson for the fire on Wausau’s near west side


Emergency crews work on a fire Tuesday at Rainbow Coin Laundry on Wausau’s near west side.

Wausau police and firefighters were still on scene Tuesday evening at a fire that started early that morning at Rainbow Coin Laundry on Wausau’s near west side. Smoke continued to billow from the building as crews with backhoes tore down the smoldering walls of a building left in rubble.

Public safety officials first responded to the structure fire at 3:36 am Tuesday at 210 Clark Street. Rainbow Laundry, along with Blossoms and Bows located in the same structure, have been completely destroyed, and crews throughout the day continued to battle and contain the fire. Around 9 am several ladder trucks had firefighters pouring water on the building and smoke still billowed out of the top of the building.

By the end of the day, it lay in ruins as traffic continued to be routed around the fire scene. Passersby continued to look on as crews worked into the evening on the building.

Wausau police on Tuesday announced they suspected the fire was intentionally set, and early in the afternoon announced they had arrested a man in connection with the fire. Azeez Aleem Hakeem, 31, now faces charges of arson and bail jumping in connection with the fire. According to criminal court records, Hakeem has had multiple pastcharges related to drugs and carrying knives.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, according to police reports, and so far no one is believed to have been injured in the fire. Traffic is still being rerouted from Third Avenue to Fourth Avenue to avoid the fire scene. The Department of Criminal Investigation’s Arson Bureau is assisting in the investigation.