By Heidi Zemach for SCN –
Spenard Builder’s Supply, on the Seward Highway at Herman Leirer (Exit Glacier) Road, suffered a minor fire early Saturday morning in its paint department. Bear Creek Volunteer Fire Department, Seward Fire Department, and the Seward Volunteer Ambulance Corps responded to notification that came in at 8:00 a.m. immediately after the store’s automated fire alarm system went off. It was thanks to that alarm notification that the responders were able to put out the fire so quickly, while it was still in the early stages, said Mark Beals, the BCVFD Fire Chief. They were on scene by 8:07, and had the fire under control by 8:18.
Nevertheless, the fire destroyed the service counter in the middle of the store where paint is mixed, it damaged some of the nearby paint produces, and melted some of the ceiling insulation coverings. It burned quite hot, and smoke was already at the door when the fire department arrived, Beals said. The building also sustained some water damage and had smoke damage, he said.
The exact cause of the fire hasn’t been determined, but it could have been electrical, or spontaneous combustion, he said. Early estimates on property loss and cost of repairs is around $50,000, but its owners hoped to have the store back up and running by today.
Overall, Beals said, it was “a great save,” and a reminder that smoke alarms can save property—especially in areas where there are not as many passers-by around to report fires. The only thing better would have been if the store had had a sprinkler system, he said. Then it would have been put out before they got there.
In other matters he noted that the fire department is still recruiting for operator/drivers for their water tankers. The department has about 20 volunteers on the roster, but could really use 30 people ready to respond. These positions don’t require the training required to fight fires.