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Fire burns construction building

 

Grand Coulee Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Ryan Fish digs through the debris after a fire razed a DWK Fowler Construction building in Delano. - Scott Hunter photo

A fire early Monday morning destroyed the office and storage area of the DWK Fowler Construction Company in Delano.

The fire broke out about 6:15, and when firefighters responded they found smoke coming out of the eaves of the building.

Firefighters had trouble accessing the fire through the roof because of metal roofing, building owner Wayne Fowler said.

Firefighters were eventually able to extinguish the blaze with help from the Fowler crew and a backhoe that tore the end of the building out so water could be pumped onto the fire.

Grant County PUD responded and cut power to the property, making it safe for firefighters to do their work.

The building and most of the contents, were lost, according to Grand Coulee Volunteer Fire Chief Richard Paris. Fowler said they did save many of his records from the office.

"I want to thank all the fire departments," Fowler said Tuesday afternoon. "They did get up there and save quite a bit," he said, noting that their grabbing the paperwork from the office will save him trouble in the coming days.

He said he would meet with an insurance adjuster this week before deciding on rebuilding there, but he'd already bought a fax machine and office equipment so he could set up a temporary office.

The fire appeared to have started in the attic of the storage area on the east side in the middle of the building, Paris noted.

Paris said they were unable to establish the cause of the fire, but there were no signs of suspicious activity. He noted it had a mix of old and newer electrical wiring. He said an insurance company will do a followup investigation.

Fowler owns the building. Built in the 1940s, it was previously used as a VFW hall and reportedly moved to that location from Grand Coulee, Fowler said.

The building was insured, and there was no report of injuries. Firefighters were able to prevent the fire from engulfing adjacent buildings.

They were on the scene for six-and-a-half hours. Two EMTs, an ambulance, six fire engines and three police officers were also at the scene. Some 22 firefighters from Grand Coulee, Coulee Dam, Elmer City and Okanogan Fire District 2, and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation responded.

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