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Popular Antigo business destroyed by fire

Rick's 45 Roadhouse Fire
WAOW Television
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Just off US-45, north of Antigo, sits Rick's 45 Roadhouse in disarray.

"The [security] company actually called me and told me my building was on fire," said Bonnie Paiser, co-owner of the restaurant.

She had served that position for only a year and a half before a fire significantly damaged the building Sunday.

"When our crews first arrived on scene, the north portion of the building was fully engulfed in flames, which we quickly knocked down," said Eric Borchert, Town of Antigo Volunteer Fire Chief.

What's left is a lot of charred wood, and livelihoods gone.

"I'm devastated. I have 7 employees displaced already and it's Christmastime. I don't really worry about me, I worry about my employees," Paiser said.

She says she's received hundreds of messages expressing their support for the business offering help.

Among those, an employee reminiscing on what should have been.

"She messaged me and said, 'I'm supposed to be serving Tall Scott his Old Style and Bob his Miller Lite.' You got your regulars that are here and just, the camaraderie, you know? When am I going to see Scott again or Bob again," Paiser said.

It's not just the regulars affected by the loss, either.

Borchert says it had become one of the places to be in Langlade County.

"It's a loss for the firefighters as well. They are a determined group of people and they don't like to lose, so you do everything you can to stop the fire, to save what you can," he said.

While cleanup has begun, Paiser says it's still a long road to recovery.

"The support right now is awesome, but the continued support through these next months is just as important," she said.

She adds that she is not taking any donations just yet, with priority number one being taking care of the building as it stands at the moment.

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