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By LeAnn R. Ralph
COLFAX — The Colfax Community Fire Department responded to a call at 9:30 p.m. Sunday, August 13, for a structure fire on Pine Street in Colfax that ended up being confined to a second story bedroom.
Colfax firefighters were on scene at 508 Pine Street for about two hours, said Gary Hill, Colfax fire chief.
“We went in the front door, up the steps to the bedroom and put it out,” he said, adding that the rapid response truck had used the ultra-high-pressure apparatus to assist from the outside.
The high-pressure system condenses a stream of water to the size of a BB that works to cool a fire fast using very little water.
All together, 20 firefighters were on scene, and 400 gallons of water were used to fight the fire.
Since it was Sunday night, the firefighters were all at home, winding down from the weekend and getting ready for work the next day, so they were available to respond, Hill said.
Four children were transported for assessment for smoke inhalation, and six people were in the house all together, he said.
While the cause is still under investigation, the fire appeared to be entirely accidental, Hill said.
The edge of the bed appeared to have caught fire and then spread to the rest of the room, where it damaged at least one window, the Sheetrock and the carpeting. The rest of the upstairs was filled with heavy smoke, he said.
Someone had the foresight to shut the door to the bedroom, and that limited the fire’s ability to spread because it limited the amount of oxygen available to fuel the fire. The heavy smoke from burning plastic, polyester and other manmade materials also limited the oxygen available for the fire, he said, noting that the flames did not come out any of the windows.
Since the fire was only about a mile from the fire station, three firefighters put their air packs on right away and were ready to go into the house immediately, Hill said.
The houses on Pine Street are fairly close together, so it potentially could have been a bad situation, he said.
The Colfax Messenger reporter happened to be working at the newspaper office when the call came over the scanner and was able to listen to some of the transmissions.
The Colfax fire department had asked Dunn County dispatch to “set the timer” for MABAS (Mutual Aid Box Alarm System), but after the first time period expired, the fire had been knocked down, the timer was cancelled and no mutual aid from other fire departments was needed.