Multiple fires hit New Town
By Jerry W. Kram
In a wild weekend, the New Town Fire Department found itself constantly on the run for more than 24 hours as it battled three structure fires and an oil well tank explosion Saturday and Sunday.
Assistant Fire Chief Doug Bratvold said that first call came in about 10 a.m. on Saturday, when the 10 unit Casino Apartments on the west side of New Town caught fire. Upon arriving on the scene, firefighters were informed by Three Affiliated Tribes and New Town Police that the building had been evacuated.
"Upon arrival the the entire attic was involved and there were flames throughout the building," Bratvold said. "It was fully engulfed. We entered the building when we arrived. We went through all the rooms we could, but the roof started caving in so we had to exit."
Bratvold said the building’s metal roof made it more difficult to get water on the blaze from above. He said that when the department gets its new ladder truck it will make fighting these kind of fires easier. Bratvold said the State Fire Marshall’s office is investigating the blaze and no cause has been released at this time.
"In my whole career, that was probably the hardest structure fire I have ever been on," Bratvold said. "Tin roofs are great for a lot of things, but when they fall inside its hard to get water on the fire to put it out. The building was so big we couldn’t concentrate in just one area. We had to cover the whole area with the resources that we had."