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Cause of tavern fire that killed four in Blanchardville unknown

BLANCHARDVILLE - The cause of a fire at a Blanchardville tavern that killed four people may never be known.

The 106-year-old building burned to the ground on Monday. Village President Dennis Marty said the preliminary cause is listed as un-determined - and there's no evidence it was started on purpose. The blaze started in a space between the second-and-third floors of the building, which was once a hotel.

The Lafayette County coroner's office said all four victims died from smoke inhalation. 45-year-old Daniel Hardekopf, who owned a tavern in the building, died while trying to save the other three who were in a second floor apartment. His 44-year-old girlfriend Jill Hughes was killed, along with 23-year-old Cody Olson and 34-year-old Brian Monte.

A two-block stretch of Main Street is still closed in downtown Blanchardville. Marty says demolition work could begin today on the upper part of the building.