PLEASANT PRAIRIE – The Village Fire Department along with several fire departments responded to the Roger Prange Civic Center where a fire reportedly started inside a public works vehicle on Sunday evening.
Fire departments from several surrounding communities were called at 6 p.m. to 8600 Green Bay Road at the Civic Center Public Works Building, which houses snow plows and other vehicles. The fire started inside a new dump truck used in snow removal operations, according to the authorities on site. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.
Pleasant Prairie Fire units arrived at 6:08 p.m. Minutes earlier, an area police officer noticed “thick black smoke” coming from the building, according to Fire Chief Craig Roepke.
Firefighters from Zion, Winthrop Harbor, Beach Park and Newport also responded to the blaze, he said. Bristol Fire and Salem Lakes assisted with a “neighborhood change” to cover potential calls while village firefighters were at the scene of the blaze. The fire was under control at 6:18 p.m. and extinguished at 6:24 p.m., he said.
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“It appears to be a vehicle fire that started in the engine compartment and at this time that is all we know,” Roepke said.
“Typically, vehicle fires in the engine compartment spread quickly. Typically for a vehicle fire, we don’t call all of those units, but the fact that there was a vehicle fire in the inside a structure – that’s the indicator for extra units because if the vehicle sets the structure on fire, now we have a building fire,” he said.
Roepke said the fire was limited to the vehicle itself and there was no damage to structure or “any other vehicles” in the large storage building.
“The public works vehicle storage garage … is a sprinklered building. And the sprinkler system activated and contained the fire from the vehicle until arriving units could extinguish (the fire) “, did he declare.
The damage estimate has not yet been determined. He said the vehicle’s chassis is “probably a total loss”, but other components can still be salvaged. Public Works Director John Steinbrink Jr. also responded to the scene.
The central Prange campus also houses the village police department and 9-1-1 dispatch in a building just north of the public works structure, but was unaffected by the fire.
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