Bellingham Fire Department crews responded to a reported structure fire in the office of Raincountry Refrigeration at 1610 6th St. at 6:17 p.m. last night Jan. 3. No occupants or firefighters were injured.
Engine 2, housed at the Harris Street Fire Station, was first to arrive, and found heavy fire showing from a two-story metal clad office building. Twenty-two firefighters quickly knocked down the fire with large caliber hose streams and performed a search, salvage and overhaul. A damage estimate was not available, according to the Bellingham Fire Department.
Mark Vondrachek, owner of Raincountry Refrigeration, said he heard some glass breaking and thought the wind had blown out a loose window.
“The window blew out all right, but it was the heat of the fire that did it,” he said.
Vondrachek said the fire was contained in the office and did not affect his shop, so the company will be setting up a temporary office while damage is assessed.
“That’s just a minor detail,” he said. “It shouldn’t affect our business.”
The initial investigation is focused on the use of a free-standing wood stove that was in use at the time the fire started, and appears to be near the area of origin. The fire spread likely was aided by flammable insulation on the interior walls of the office, according to the Bellingham Fire Department.
Vondrachek said he wanted to express his profound thanks to the Bellingham firefighters who risked their lives to save his building.
Raincountry Refrigeration has been in Bellingham since 1984 and installs commercial refrigeration units for salmon hatcheries, marine vessels, cold storage units and ice rinks.