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Green Bay Warehouse Fire Forces Workers to Flee

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Photo: Video by nbc26.com

Green Bay Warehouse Fire Forces Workers to Flee

By Deandra Corinthios. CREATED Sep 20, 2012

GREEN BAY, Wis.--  A warehouse catches fire on Green Bay's west side and nearly 100 firefighters are called-in to battle the blaze. The flames broke-out in a commercial area off  Hudson Road around 11 o'clock this morning.

Firefighters say the people inside the building are lucky they got out in time. Five people were inside the building at the time. They were doing some construction when their torch sparked flammable material, and within minutes the space was engulfed in flames.

"It spread so fast it was unbelievable to the point that all we thought we could do was ask for help and get out," said building owner Gary Fairchild.

A terrifying moment for Fairchild, he and four others were inside the structure when it caught fire. As the flames and smoke took over Fairchild called 911.

"It puts a real realization into you of how fragile things can be and how lucky we all were to just get out," said Fairchild.

At least six fire departments and nearly 100 firefighters were called to the scene. Firefighters say a fire of this magnitude happens only a handful of times a year in Green Bay. This fire started because of a cutting torch used during demolition work.

"They were cutting into a structure that was not all steel and they didn't know that until they started cutting into it..A steel exterior and something flammable inside of it," said Lt. Nick Craig with the Green Bay Fire Department.

The building was purchased four months ago and was used as storage space. Only a few cars were inside. The owner of next door business Fairchild Equipment bought it, planning to expand into it someday.

The company sells forklifts and other equipment.

"Is it rebuildable? I honestly can't tell you. I'm just glad the guys in there didn't get hurt, stuff is stuff. We'll figure it out," said Fairchild.

A devastating loss, but it could have been much worse. Firefighters estimate the damage from the fire is about $350,000. Nearby buildings may have suffered some heat damage, no smoke damage.