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WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 17, 2012, 10:57 AM

Fire reported to be under control; building owned by Vining Oil and Gas

Jamestown, ND (WDAY TV) -

By: WDAY Staff Reports; Jamestown Sun, WDAY; Jamestown Sun

5:00 p.m. Update

Jamestown, ND (WDAY TV) - Crews are still battling a fire at the Vining Oil and Gas building in downtown Jamestown. Crews have been battling this blaze since the call came in shortly before 10 this morning. As you can see behind me, there is still a thick layer of smoke covering much of downtown Jamestown.

The call came in at 9:54 and crews were on scene within three minutes. The Vining Oil and Gas building will be a total loss. The fire also spread into the abandoned Old Elks building.

The Vining Oil and Gas CEO told me inside the warehouse there were more than 600 tires, two tractors and several 55 gallon barrels of oil.

Fire Chief Jim Reuther – Jamestown Fire Chief: “We did do some evacuations of an apartment building that was closer also we are trying to maintain the fire that it doesn't get into the old Elks building.”

The CEO says damage estimates are easily over $1 million in his building alone. Fire officials do not have an official cause yet, but no injuries or deaths are being reported at this time.

2:40 p.m. Update

Scanner reports indicate firefighters have a fire in a downtown Jamestown building under control as of 2:15 p.m.

The building is owned by Vining Oil and Gas LLC and is also known as the North Star building and was referred to as such in earlier reports.

The Elks building was reported clear of fire at 2:12 p.m.

Brad Vining, CEO of Vining Oil and Gas, told WDAY there were several 55-gallon drums of oil, 600 to 700 tires and two tractors in the building at the time of the fire.

WDAY repored the smoke rising from the fire was visible from 12 miles outside Jamestown.

1:15 p.m. Update

Firefighters continue to fight the blaze that fully engulfed the Vining building this morning, pouring water over the top of the Elks building in an effort to save it.

Initial scanner reports indicated there was some fire in the Elks building as of 11:15, and at 12:56 p.m. there was a further scanner report of a possible fire in the attic of the Elks.

At 2:12, scanner reports indicated the Elks building was clear.

Burned debris littered the ground and water pooled on sidewalks around the building, and the black smoke rising from the building had turned white by 12:45 p.m.

B&D Towing, located across the street from the Vining building, was evacuated to its back rooms, said Bobby Burton, who co-owns the business. Burton said concerns about smoke inhalation had prompted the move.

The Gladstone Inn & Suites evacuated guests from the upper floor due to smoke blowing in that direction earlier this morning. Phyllis Thompson, general manager, said at about 1:45 p.m. that the smoke had lessened and guests had returned to their rooms.

11:20 a.m. Update

Initial scanner reports indicated there is some fire in the Elks building, which is adjacent to the fully-engulfed North Star building.

The City of Jamestown has closed First Avenue North from Second Street North to Fourth Street North until further notice.

"Motorists should use alternate routes and use EXTREME caution in and around this area," said Nancy Harty, the city's Public Works secretary in an email. "Detour routes will be in place shortly."

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Law enforcement officials are diverting traffic in downtown Jamestown following a 9:52 a.m. report of a fire in the North Star building on First Avenue.

The North Star building is adjacent to the old Elks building and across the street diagonally from the Gladstone.

As of 10:40 a.m. the building was fully engulfed.

The Jamestown Fire Department is fighting the fire, and law enforcement officials have blocked off the area. Residents may wish to avoid the downtown area, as traffic has become congested.

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