A warehouse fire broke out in the industrial part of Fairbanks on Monday afternoon, devastating a building but hurting no one.
The fire started around 3:30 p.m. at a maintenance warehouse for cars and trucks, close to the intersection of South Cushman and Van Horn streets. At 5 p.m. the flames were still raging, with firefighters estimating hours of work ahead, Fairbanks Fire Chief Tod Chambers said.
“It’s 0% contained, but the building is going to go down, it's already collapsed on three sides,” on-duty Battalion Chief Scott Raygor said about 5 p.m. Monday. He added that “due to the hydrants being so far away, it took a while to get the water spraying on fire.”
Fairbanks, University, Steese and Fort Wainwright fire departments were working together to put the flames down.
“Pretty much every fire truck in the Interior is here,” Fairbanks Police Sergeant Dennis Benn said.
The fire marshal is investigating the cause of the fire, but firefighters have some ideas of what happened.
“My understanding is they were grinding, on the metal, and it got to the wall,” Raygor said. “But that’s not confirmed yet.”
Welder Fernando Gaone was working inside the warehouse and said that as soon as the fire started, employees — around eight people — rushed to carry things away from the building.
“There is millions of dollars of equipment there,” he said, pointing to the flames. “But everyone is safe, no one got hurt, that’s what matters.”
Raygor estimated the building alone to easily cost a million dollars, though the official estimate will come from the fire marshal later. Raygor confirmed that people were out by the time firefighters arrived.
“That’s the bonus," Raygor said. "During business hours nobody is sleeping so they were all out of the building.”
Teal Soden, communications director for the city of Fairbanks, said the building, belonging to C&R Pipe and Steel, "will pretty much be a total loss."
Contact staff writer Alena Naiden at 459-7587. Follow her at twitter.com/FDNMlocal.