The Jamestown Sun

Firefighters didn't have to go far for a fire call Wednesday night.

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A Jamestown Fire Department storage building containing two hazardous materials trailers, emergency generators, nozzles, an old radio, supplies of propane and motor oil and two one-ton trucks caught fire, said Fire Chief Bert Gray.

The storage building is about 100 feet west of the Jamestown Fire Department.

"So, yeah, our on-scene time was pretty fast," said firefighter Glenn Christianson, who is also the department's maintenance mechanic.

Thirty-two firefighters responded to the 911 dispatch call at 11:18 p.m., Gray said, and most firefighters didn't leave until around 2 a.m.

No one was injured.

Some Jamestown residents -- like Jennifer Story, who lives about a mile from the storage building -- said they heard what sounded like an explosion around 11 p.m. The explosion sounded like the "railroad tracks hit wrong," Story said.

"It had a metal sound to it," she said.

The storage building has electrical outlets, but is not heated. A radio and a pager were plugged in, but were not the source of the fire, Gray said, pointing out the V-shaped burn mark the fire made on the storage building. The fire started at the northwest doorway, where the V-shape began, whereas the radio and pager were nearer to the middle, he said.

"A fire always leaves a track," Gray said.

Insurance adjustors and a state fire marshal inspected the damages Thursday. Gray estimated the damages to cost several hundred thousand dollars. The generators alone cost between $3,500 and $5,000 and of the six that were in the building, only one might be salvaged.

While firefighters can still respond to fire calls, without the hazardous materials equipment like don-it kits, shower equipment, a diesel-powered heater, decontamination kits and hazardous material suits, Gray said the Jamestown Fire Department would respond to hazardous material calls by quarantining the area and waiting for responders from other parts of the state. The Fire Department responds to about four to six hazardous material calls a year, Gray said, and most calls are minor.

"Our firefighting capabilities are still 100 percent," Gray said.

State Fire Marshal Ray Lambert said fire marshals respond to requests from fire services or law enforcement to find the origin and cause of a fire. Determining the cause of a fire is a science, he said, although it's not exact.

"My staff is very educated and very good at the work that we do," Lambert said.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.