Orange City, Iowa — A business building was damaged in a fire on Tuesday, January 30, 2018 in Orange City.
According to Orange City Fire Chief Denny Vander Wel, about 5:00 p.m., the Orange City Fire Department was called to the report of a structure fire at Elite Auto Body and Digital Plus- US Cellular on Highway 10 West.
The chief says the fire department saw heavy smoke from the outside as they approached the scene. He says people who noticed the fire tried to put it out with dry chemical extinguishers. Vander Wel says firefighters also used dry chemical extinguishers at first since it’s a metal building and there was an obvious electrical short going on. He says once the utility department shut off the power, they switched to a water extinguisher. He says they also used a Sawzall to cut out part of the building that had been burning so it wouldn’t re-ignite. He says the fire and smoke were limited to the outside of the building and inside the wall. He says there was no fire or smoke damage to the inside. He says the black smoke was caused by burning vinyl siding.
Vander Wel says no injuries were reported.
The fire department was assisted by the Alton Fire Department. Vander Wel says they did ask for Sioux Center’s RIT team to come to the fire, but firefighters had the fire out before they got there, so they were told to turn around. Vander Wel says the RIT team is basically a team to rescue firefighters in an emergency situation, and he says he called them as a precaution.
He says the cause of the fire appeared to be an electrical short in the meter base.
Chief Vander Wel reports that there was moderate damage. He figures the exterior damage at around $20,000 but he says electrical equipment plugged in may be damaged, so that figure could go up quickly.
He says they used minimal water to fight the fire, and crews were on scene for about an hour.