By Justin Franz, 12-28-12
Nine hours after smoke engulfed the Northwest Drywall and Roofing Supply warehouse in Kalispell, owner Pam Mower walked across the soot-covered floor. In the middle of the building was a burned-out boom truck.
Firefighters from across the Flathead Valley responded to the fire shortly before 11 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 27. The blaze destroyed the vehicle inside, but resulted in no structure damage.
“It could have been a lot worse,” Mower said. “There were a lot of people here and they got right on it. The firefighters did an amazing job.”
When firefighters arrived at the scene, smoke was shooting from all sides of the building and crews initially could not locate the fire. Along with the Kalispell Fire Department, the Kalispell Police Department, Evergreen Fire Department, Whitefish Fire Department, Northwest Energy and Flathead Electric Coop all responded to the fire.
The cause of the fire is under investigation, but Mower said it was likely started in the engine of the boom truck that was parked in the warehouse. She said it was plugged in Thursday night to keep it from freezing. She said a new boom truck would cost upwards of $300,000.
“It’s one of those things that happen and we’ll get past it,” she said. “We’ll get a new boom truck.”
Although the fire was contained to the truck, Mower said some drywall suffered smoke and water damage during the blaze. On Friday morning her primary goal was getting the power back on and cleaning up.
Even though the warehouse was covered in soot and a window was broken, Northwest Drywall was open on Friday.
“We were open at 7 a.m.,” said sales representative John Agnew. “We didn’t miss a beat.”
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