Tower fire department suffers fire of their own

J. Summit
Firefighters in Tower survey the damage to their storage building following an early morning fire on July 4.
Jodi Summit

TOWER- Fourth of July got a slam-bang start for members of the Tower Volunteer Fire Department, when an early morning fire heavily damaged the department’s storage garage, adjacent to the fire hall.

A worker from the Tower-Breitung Wastewater Board called 911 shortly at 5:15 a.m., after seeing smoke coming from the building. Tower, Breitung, and Greenwood Fire Department members responded to the call, and spent several hours on scene, before getting their trucks ready to participate in the Fourth of July parade.

“The damage to the building is significant,” said Tower Fire Chief Steve Altenburg. “The claims adjustor will have to decide if the building can be salvaged.”

The ambulance department’s Utility Terrain Vehicle (UTV) was destroyed, and the department’s recently-acquired brush truck also sustained serious damage from the heat of the fire.

Initial inspections by the state fire marshal’s office point to a malfunctioning electrical charging system on the UTV as the source of the fire.

Altenburg said the UTV’s battery was not holding a charge, so was plugged into a battery charger. The UTV had an appointment to be repaired on July 7.

“The building didn’t burn entirely on the inside,” said Altenburg, “but the damage is significant.”

The building also housed other fire department and ambulance equipment and supplies. The department is still working on a total cost for the losses sustained.

This made for a busy weekend for volunteer firefighters, who also ran a Fourth of July beer tent fundraiser on Friday, and set off the evening’s fireworks.


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