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Forum News Service, Published January 24 2013

Fire that led to evacuation of Jamestown day care extinguished

JAMESTOWN, N.D. - Children and staff of a local day care were forced to evacuate after a fire at the old Jamestown Hospital Thursday, according to Jerry Kainz, deputy chief of the Jamestown Fire Department. No injuries were reported.

The fire happened around 9:45 a.m. at the building located at 419 Fifth St. NE. The building is being converted into apartments for seniors. It also will be home to commercial space and the James River Senior Citizens Center and is the current home of the Jamestown Hospital Wellness Center and Me’s 21st Century Learning Center.

The fire was located in a tunnel below the ground floor of the building underneath the old laundry and kitchen area, Kainz said.

Construction workers were doing demolition work with cutting torches and welders. A spark fell into an opening and ignited a piece of plywood, he said.

Two firefighters belly crawled into the tunnel and used about 200 gallons and water to extinguish the blaze.

“The smoke was confined to the construction area,” Kainz said.

It is mandatory procedure to evacuate the building, he said. In total, 26 children ranging from 6 months to 5 years old were evacuated across the street to Lincoln Elementary School.

Kainz said about 15 construction workers gathered in a common location; some left the building.

The scene was cleared at 10:34 a.m. Responding to the scene were 24 firefighters in six vehicles, two pumpers, two equipment trucks and a ladder and support truck.

The Jamestown Police Department also responded to the scene.