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At 4:44 AM on Sunday, January 29th, the Bismarck Fire Department responded to a report of a storage building on Morrison Ave. that appeared to be on fire. A tenant of one of the units had arrived and noticed a lot smoke and called 911 to report the fire
The first arriving fire officer gave an initial report of smoke in the area. Command was established and fire crews forced entry into several storage units and fire was found between two units in the common wall space. Fire crews advanced multiple handlines into the building and had the fire under control in approximately 20 minutes.
Fire damage was contained to two units in the building and the roof above those units. There was minimal fire damage to the contents of the units but there was smoke damage to contents. Fire had burned from upper level storage areas up into the attic and involved rafters and roofing materials. Firefighters found there was a fire in one of the units that was being fed by a natural gas line that had been compromised. The gas supply to the building was shut off and crews then completed extinguishment.
Initial damage estimates are approximately $75,000.00 to the structure and it is unknown at this time how much damage to the contents was caused by smoke.
Investigation points to the cause of the fire as accidental. Initial findings point to the possibility of gas meters and gas lines that may have been damaged by snow and ice falling off of the roof. It appears that there was an accumulation of natural gas in the building and at some point an ignition source ignited the gas.
Four fire engines, one rescue truck and one command vehicle responded with 17 personnel. There were no injuries at this incident.
The owner of the property had cleared snow away from the fire hydrant which aided fire crews in finding the hydrant and connecting a water supply line to it.
The Bismarck Fire Department would like to remind the public of the importance of clearing snow away from the fire hydrants. The department appreciates the help of all those who have already “adopted” a fire hydrant in their neighborhood. It does make a difference.
It is also important to keep the area around your gas meter clear of snow and ice to allow the gas regulator to operate properly.