Smoke billowed out of the northeast side of the Road and Bridge Department's County Shop on Saturday afternoon. The fire is believed to have started in the break room due to a failure with an industrial coffee pot. No one was injured in the fire.

Photo by Jerry Raehal

Smoke billowed out of the northeast side of the Road and Bridge Department's County Shop on Saturday afternoon. The fire is believed to have started in the break room due to a failure with an industrial coffee pot. No one was injured in the fire.

County Shop catches fire

Early reports: Minimal damage to county vehicles

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— A fire at the Moffat County Road and Bridge Department County Shop on First Street on Saturday destroyed the county's sign inventory but left county vehicles with minimal damage, according to early reports.

Bill Mack, Road and Bridge Department director, estimated that there were seven or eight motorgraders inside the building, along with three snowplows and 25 other vehicles.

"Except for a few taillights that melted due to the heat, there is no real damage to any of (the vehicles), which is very good," said Bill Johnston, Craig Fire/Rescue deputy chief. He added, "I bet there was millions of dollars of vehicles in there."

Craig Fire/Rescue was paged to the scene at 2:08 p.m., with 17 firefighters and five engines responding. The fire was deemed under control at 3:33 p.m., although the department was called out later that night when the fire rekindled, which took about an hour to put out.

Johnston said the fire originated in the break room, located in the building's northeast corner.

"We believe that an electrical malfunction of the industrial-type coffee pot (caused the fire). : It's one that it is permanently plumbed in with water to it," Johnston said. "We believe that it failed somehow."

The county's sign inventory was located over the break room, Mack said.

"It did destroy all of those," he said. "So, we will have to start over with our sign inventory. Right at this time, I don't know" how much it will cost to replace.

It is believed lockers in between the break room and the vehicles helped contain the fire.

"That probably saved a lot of the vehicles," Mack said.

Had the fire spread, Mack said it could have caused problems.

"We would be awfully equipment short," he said. "It would be hard for the county, and it would take some time to get things back in order; however, as far as the main arteries, we could still plow snow there."

As for the County Shop's structure, and the exact extent of damage to vehicles, Mack said it could take some time figure out.

"We're just going to have to do a lot of assessment, and figure out where we're going to go from here once we find out what the damage is," he said.

Johnston, who takes over as the Craig Fire/Rescue chief on Dec. 1, was pleased with more than the county not taking a major hit.

"I like the fact that we didn't lose any large-dollar county equipment," he said. "But more important to me is that no one was injured, and on those large commercial fires, you stand a good potential for getting someone hurt."

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