Fire results in store evacuation

Fire officials said a faulty light or a ballast caused a fire in the ceiling of a Craig grocery store Sunday.

Craig Fire/Rescue responded to a fire call at City Market at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

"We got a call for a fire in the ceiling Ã: flames showing," said Craig Fire/Rescue Chief Roy Mason.

Mason sent three crews onto the scene, including an engine crew on the floor of the store, a truck crew on the roof and a truck crew in the attic.

Fortunately for City Market, the crew on the floor put out the fire using only one quick burst from the firehose, which has a pressure of about 150 pounds per square inch, according to Assistant Fire Chief Bill Johnston.

"We shot it from the floor," Johnston said. "Just a quick little burst so we wouldn't damage anything."

"The crews did a heck of a job," Mason said. "They were very careful to minimize damage and they used minimal water to take care of the situation."

According to Mason, a metropolitan fire department likely would have handled things differently, shutting off the power to the building and coming in "with hoses blaring."

Johnston said Craig is lucky to have a fire department that takes into account the best interests of the business.

City Market could have incurred major water damage, not to mention losing power to its refrigeration equipment, if the fire department had not been so focused on minimizing damage to the store.

"We kinda take all that into account," Johnston said. "How to get them back in business quickly."

If the sprinkler system would have been triggered, the store would have been flooded. That was one of Johnston's main concerns.

"We did not want the sprinkler system to go off, so it was important to get that fire out before that happened," Johnston said.

Firefighters evacuated the store initially. But the store reopened within the hour after the fire department finished its duties, Mason said.

The store smelled of smoke and burnt wiring, Mason said.

Firefighters turned off the power to one bank of lights and they located the light they believe was the culprit. It was either the light's ballast, the wiring, or both, Mason said.

Jeremy Browning can be reached at 824-7031 or jbrowning@craigdailypress.com

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