Fire swept through the First Alternative Co-Op’s auxiliary building on Southeast Third Street in Corvallis early Friday morning with Philomath Fire & Rescue among the departments responding to the three-alarm blaze.
Philomath Fire Chief Tom Miller was at the scene along with a ladder truck and three firefighters. Miller said that upon arrival, the building was “fully involved in fire.”
“They went inside and did an interior search and looked for the seat of the fire, where it started,” Miller said. “But then it got too hot in there and the roof trusses actually started igniting and at that point, we had to pull everybody out and start doing stuff from the outside with the aerial ladder trucks.”
Miller said there were no injuries to firefighters and nobody was inside the co-op upon arrival. The auxiliary building housed a kitchen area.
Philomath responded on the second alarm at 4:09 a.m., according to a dispatch report. At 4:15 a.m., fire through the roof had been reported and at 4:38 a.m., the status was updated to “heavy fire” through the roof. That’s when the operation went into “defensive” mode and firefighters pulled out for safety reasons.
“I would say it sounded like a pretty stubborn fire; sounds like it was pretty hard to reach in the beginning,” Philomath Fire & Rescue Capt. Rich Saalsaa said. “It was well-seated way back inside but the moment that you start putting up sticks (ladder trucks) in the air to fight a fire, it’s a bad deal.”
Miller said he would call the building a total loss. He said the building had only heat detector units with no sprinkler system or smoke alarms.
Philomath Fire & Rescue was released from the scene at 9:30 a.m.
Southeast Third Street was closed for a short time in the early morning hours but later on, one northbound lane was open along with both southbound lanes.
Joining the Corvallis Fire Department and Philomath Fire & Rescue at the scene were Adair Rural Fire & Rescue, Albany Fire Department and Tangent Fire District. Philomath also sent an engine with two firefighters to stand-by at Corvallis Fire Department Station 2, Saalsaa said.