Of all the things I’ve covered in the past, I’ve never heard more rumors spread about anything than I have about the second fire at Breitbach’s County Dining in Balltown.

Did you hear Mike Breitbach died from a heart attack just weeks after the fire? That a dryer at the restaurant caught on fire and burnt the place down? Or that an employee started the fire? Wait, it was the family themselves!?

Yeah…none of it is true. Especially the heart attack bit. Mike is very alive and kicking. He said the family’s going to make its decision “very soon” on whether to reopen the wildly popular restaurant.

I talked to him and Mike Reiger, an investigator from the restaurant’s insurance company, today about how the investigation into the fire’s cause is going. Everything they need to look at is now in Wisconsin waiting to be examined in a lab. Reiger addressed the nasty rumors that just won’t die about how the family might be linked to the disastrous second fire at the restaurant in a year.

“Through all of my interviews and everything else, I’ve found no evidence and I have absolutely no suspicions that the Breitbach family or any of their employees were involved in any way with the fire,” Reiger said. “You have no idea how much that rumor has hurt the Breitbachs.”

They haven’t been able to rule out arson as a cause, however. It could take months before they can eliminate most possibilities and find what really happened, he said.

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