Fire strikes Wood City Laundry
Cloquet Area Fire District firefighters battled fire and Mother Nature early last Friday morning, after being called to a fire at Wood City Laundry at the peak of last week’s winter storm that dropped more than 12 inches of snow on Carlton County.
CAFD Chief Kevin Schroeder said a plow driver spotted flames coming from the roof of the business at 804 Industry Ave. Units from all three CAFD stations responded and found the commercial building of metal/pole construction with heavy fire showing and a large section of the roof already collapsed into the structure.
“Due to the weather, no doubt, this was a very delayed discovery,” Schroeder said, adding that the cause of the fire was still under investigation by both the CAFD fire investigation team and insurance investigators. “This [fire] had been burning a long time before someone noticed it.”
Because the roof had collapsed on top of the burning material inside the building, Schroeder said it was especially difficult to extinguish the fire. Firefighters had to cut their way into the building through large industrial-sized garage doors. The collapsed roof then protected the burning material from the snow and the water being directed at the flames by the firefighters.
To make matters even worse. Schroeder said, the arrival of some equipment was delayed because they couldn’t get around a large 18-wheeler that was stuck in the snow at the intersection of Avenue B and Eighth Street.
“We couldn’t get around him,” Schroeder said. “And it took longer to respond because of road conditions.”
Not that it mattered much. The building was already “heavily engaged” with the fire when crews arrived, Schroeder said.
A large crew fought the fire (and prevented it from spreading to the one neighboring building) from 3-7 a.m., Schroeder said, and then a two-person crew remained on the scene for another seven hours “taking care of hot spots.”
Schroeder said he was grateful his crew got time to regroup after the fire.
“By the time we were done, the trucks were covered with ice,” he said. “It took hours to get everything thawed and back together.”
There were no injuries reported.