By Shari Phiel
Firefighters with the Berthoud Fire Protection District have certainly been busy lately responding to both wildland and structural fires. BFPD deployed two trucks and six crewmen on Wednesday, Jan. 7 to the Neva wildlands fire in Boulder County.
The fire, begun by a downed power line, was spurred by high winds gusting at more than 100 mph. The heavy smoke and flames from the Neva fire and another fire on Olde Stage Road forced authorities to close U.S. Highway 36 and evacuate a number of homes.
One BFPD truck, with three crew members, returned the same day while the other truck, also with three crew members, stayed on scene overnight and returned the following morning.
Just a few days later crews responded to an early morning warehouse fire at BAE Systems Container Solutions located at 19750 Weld County Road 7 in Berthoud. The 4:40 a.m. call came in on Saturday, Jan 10 and upon arrival, crews found the building on fire along with heavy smoke.
According to BFPD, “More than 35 firefighters from Berthoud and Loveland responded to the incident.” Mountain View Fire Protection District was also called in to assist in backfilling calls to the Berthoud fire station. “Three engines, a ladder truck, a squad and command vehicle from Berthoud responded as well as two engines and a squad from Loveland responded.” Firefighters had the blaze knocked down with 15 minutes of receiving the first call.
The cause of the fire was believed to be spontaneous combustion of chemical soaked rags housed in the warehouse. The rags were reportedly placed into plastic storage bags and then stored in cardboard boxes.
BAE Systems, a global defense company based in the United Kingdom with offices throughout the world, manufactures containers for aerospace contractors. “Due to the chemicals used in the process, hazardous material mitigation was conducted,” said the BFPD.
This is the second time a fire has broken out at BAE Systems. A fire started in much the same manner two years ago. Fire officials will meet with BAE representatives to discuss ways to prevent any future occurrences.
Residents from the Olde Stage Road area will host a thank-you dinner for firefighters and emergency personnel on Saturday, Jan. 17 at the Altona Grange in Longmont. The dinner is open to the public and starts at 6 p.m. For more information, call (303) 906-4063.
<p>Berthoud fire crews respond to an early morning structural fire at BAE Systems in Berthoud. Crews found chemical soaked rags stored in a warehouse on fire, requiring the use of hazardous material mitigation.</p>