Kulm fire: Building that housed repair business destroyedFirefighters could not save the Gackle Brothers building in Kulm from its destruction by fire Saturday morning, but by working against a bitter northwest wind, they did prevent the flames’ spread.
By: Kari Lucin, The Jamestown Sun
Firefighters could not save the Gackle Brothers building in Kulm from its destruction by fire Saturday morning, but by working against a bitter northwest wind, they did prevent the flames’ spread.
“By the time we got everything set up, it was just too late,” said Nathan Klusmann, fire chief of the Kulm Volunteer Fire Department.
The building was likely built in the early 1900s, said owner Wes Gackle, who had leased part of its space to D&D Repair, owned by Duane Batsch. The remainder of the building was used for storage.
“It’s sad. You lose a piece of your history,” Gackle said.
An electrical short in a vehicle that had been brought in for repair is believed to be the cause of the fire, Klusmann said.
Kulm firefighters were called to the scene at approximately 9 a.m., Klusmann said, after a passerby reported the building was on fire.
At that point, the fire in the vehicle inside the building had already burned out, and firefighters worked to put out hot spots in the floor. Then they saw the floor joists of the second floor were burning.
“And from that point it just took off, and you couldn’t have added enough water to put it out at that point,” Klusmann said.
The Edgeley Fire Department was called to assist, and eventually about 25 to 30 firefighters and six vehicles were battling the blaze.
Though another building was 12 feet from the burning Gackle Brothers building, two others across the street drew more concern because of the direction of the wind.
Rather than spraying water directly on the other buildings, firefighters created a wall of water between them, ensuring that the heat and flames couldn’t get through.
The Gackle Brothers building was completely destroyed, and one of its walls fell into the street, Klusmann said. Excavators and heavy equipment came in and finished knocking down the walls.
Firefighters left the scene Saturday by approximately 2 p.m.
Sun reporter Kari Lucin can be reached at 701-952-8453 or by email at