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Fire destroys rural shop building

A fire destroyed a shop building in rural Jamestown by early Saturday, but the Jamestown Rural Fire Department prevented the blaze from spreading despite the harsh weather conditions.

“When we got there ... the south end of the shop already had flames coming through the roof,” said Rick Woehl, fire chief with the JRFD. “All three structures were in really close proximity to each other there. We were fortunate to contain it to just one building.”

The fire call came at approximately 10:20 p.m. Friday, and 18 firefighters with eight trucks responded to the shop fire at 3856 87th Ave. SE.

The building that was on fire was just three feet away from another shop building, Woehl said, and numerous propane tanks were inside the burning building. Firefighters were able to remove them before the fire got to them, though some acetylene tanks did burn with the structure.

A wood-burning stove is believed to have caused the fire.

“We urge homeowners to, if they have a woodburner, use caution, and make sure their chimneys are cleaned,” Woehl said.

The severe cold made fighting the fire harder, but didn’t slow things down much.

“The minute we would unhook a hose to switch trucks, the water would freeze instantly on the couplers,” he said. “Every time we were to unhook and then rehook on the next tanker, everything was iced up in seconds.”

To keep the valves on the trucks from freezing, the firefighters used portable propane torches.

Volunteers with the American Red Cross brought warm food and coffee to the scene, Woehl said. “Those guys do a tremendous job for the firemen out there.”

The Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office was also there, and assisted with a truck that was having mechanical problems.

The scene was cleared at 3:30 a.m. Saturday.

The Jamestown Fire Department responded to a report of smoke from a dryer in Jamestown Sunday.

Chief Jim Reuther said the call came at 12:56 p.m. to an apartment at 906 8th Ave. NE. Four trucks responded, but there was no fire, Reuther said.

“We extracted some smoke from the place, but there was no fire, no damage,” he said.

Firefighters were on the scene for about 15 minutes.

Sun reporter Chris Olson contributed to this story.

Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at

Kari Lucin

Kari Lucin joined the Grand Forks Herald as a multimedia producer in August 2014. Previously, she worked for a few years at the Jamestown Sun in Jamestown, N.D., as a staff writer, and prior to that, for about six years as staff writer and later online content coordinator, at the Daily Globe in Worthington, Minn. A graduate of Jackson County Central High School and Augsburg College, she has a bachelor's degree in philosophy and English. Find more of her writing at her blog, Oh Look, a Shiny Thing! or on Twitter at @karilucin.

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