Thursday, June 21, 2018
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Cause of downtown fire not known

Five Star Flooring store damaged

Fire officials are scratching their heads about what sparked a fire between two ceilings in a downtown building a week ago.

Second assistant fire chief Troy Franzen of the Gothenburg Volunteer Department said the state fire marshal investigated later in the afternoon of Sept. 19 and couldn’t find the origin of the blaze without damaging the building even more.

Troy Daum, who owns the building and a carpet and floor-covering business along with his wife Chivonne, said Friday that the building, at 1014 Lake Ave, is insured.

The Daums had planned to start moving inventory from their current building, at 915 Lake Ave., into the newly remodeled structure this week.

Daum said the move will still happen at some point.

Franzen estimated what he called mostly structural damage to be between $10,000 to $20,000.

Someone called in the fire shortly after 1:30 p.m. and smoke was visible when fire fighters arrived.

Franzen said fire, in the southwest corner of the building, broke out a window that had been covered and painted.

Outside and inside, fire fighters used pike poles to yank smoldering, and sometimes blazing, insulation from an area between a lower ceiling and an older ceiling above, he said.

They also cut two holes in the roof, Franzen said, to give the intense heat somewhere to go and prevent the fire from spreading.

“That made all the difference,” he said.

Franzen said it took about 1 hours to extinguish the fire and another 2 hours to clean up.

The assistant fire chief said it was fortunate the blaze started mid-day when people were around to see and smell smoke.

“Most of the workers (who were remodeling the building), were just coming back from lunch,” he said. “If it had started at 1 a.m., the fire would have continued to grow because not many people would have been around.”

Because he doesn’t know the cause of the fire, Franzen said it’s difficult to know what can be learned.

“Probably to be diligent and pay attention to surroundings, especially if you smell smoke,” he said.

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