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Fire engulfs rural shop

John M. Steiner / The Sun Members of the Jamestown Rural Fire Department spray water on a farm shop fire Wednesday that was totally engulfed in flames southeast of town.1 / 2
John M. Steiner / The Sun Flames rise from the roof of a farm shop and find their way to an entrance door as sparks fly from an electrical panel Wednesday southeast of Jamestown.2 / 2

A fire destroyed a workshop in rural southeast Jamestown Wednesday.

When officers and firefighters arrived on scene about 4:20 p.m., the building was completely engulfed in flames, said Deputy Josh Metzger, of the Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office.

No one was home at the time of the fire, and a neighbor had called 911, said Jim Madsen, owner of the destroyed shop.

Firefighters were on the scene for about two and a half hours, extinguishing the fire and making sure it didn’t spread to the nearby house and other structures, said Rick Woehl, fire chief of the Jamestown Rural Fire Department.

About 16 firefighters with eight fire trucks battled the blaze, he said.

The shop is a total loss.

“I’m fine. Nobody’s hurt. That’s just money,” Madsen said, gesturing to his shop as the firefighters worked to stop the flames.

The building was more than 100 years old, Madsen said. His grandparents bought it in 1909.

Madsen said he had no idea how the fire could have started. The building was completely redone about 15 or 20 years ago, so it wouldn’t have problems with old wiring, he said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the Jamestown Rural Fire Department, Woehl said. He estimated that the damage of the actual structure is valued at about $50,000, but added that the shop’s contents were probably more valuable.

Although Madsen seemed sad about watching his shop burn, he repeated that he was happy no one was hurt.

Otter Tail Power Co. was on scene to cut off electricity to the property, and Montana-Dakota Utilities was there to cut off the gas, Woehl said.

The Stutsman County Sheriff’s Office, North Dakota Highway Patrol and Jamestown Police Department were also on scene, he said.

About 10 minutes after firefighters arrived at the shop fire, they received a call of a second fire — a small grass fire on Interstate 94, near the Spiritwood exit.

Rural Fire sent two pickups to the second scene, and the grass fire was extinguished in about 10 minutes, Woehl said.

Some firefighters were at both scenes, returning to the shop fire after dousing the grass fire, he said.

“It was two at once, so that always makes things interesting,” Woehl said.

Sun reporter Charly Haley can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at

Charly Haley

Charly Haley covers city government for the Grand Forks Herald. As night reporter, she also has many general assignments. Before working at the Herald, she was a reporter at the Jamestown Sun and interned at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, Detroit Lakes Newspapers and the St. Cloud Times. Haley is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead, and her hometown is Sartell, Minn.