Morning fire destroys truck

Employees of Kawcak Oilfield Services arrived at work this morning to find smoke billowing out of their shop.

Gus Gonzales and Matthew Hoffman carpooled to work at about 6:15 a.m. Smoke was rolling out of the garage door and side door of the building at 232 Washington St.

While Gonzales called 911, Hoffman opened the shop's front door. Smoke poured out the door and Hoffman said he heard a loud bang.

"I dove away from the door," Hoffman said.

In minutes, Craig Fire/Rescue was on scene with a rescue truck, an engine and numerous firefighters.

Owner Shane Kawcak paced in the snow. He spoke to his employees about what they had seen. He worried that all three of the one-ton trucks that were parked in the shop would be destroyed.

Kawcak said he had been in the shop earlier in the morning, but everything was OK. He was in the office building when the fire started.

Firefighters lifted the shop's garage door and used a fan to vent the thick clouds of black smoke. The air smelled of burnt rubber.

The fire department called in an additional truck and used its winch to drag out the pickup that was determined to be the cause of the fire. Firefighters used a foam solution to extinguish the fire.

"That's my truck," Gonzales said, as firefighters surveyed the vehicle. The front end of the truck, the hood and the passenger compartment were black and burnt. The front right tire had melted off the wheel.

Fire Chief Roy Mason said the fire originated in the engine compartment. The fire department will not probe further into the exact location of origin.

"There's nothing suspicious about it," Mason concluded.

Insulation on the shop's garage door was burned, but other trucks and equipment in the building were not damaged, Mason said.

According to Kawcak, the truck that burned recently had its engine replaced.

Although the fire caused them a late start, Kawcak said he and his crew can still use the shop and the other trucks to do their work today.

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

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