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Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

'Business as usual' despite fire which destroyed building

Wednesday, February 20, 2002

BLODGETT - Plans are already in the works for a Blodgett business to rebuild following a Feb. 13 fire.

David Russell, owner of Tank Tech, said when they learned of the blaze, the buildings were immediately evacuated. "An employee was cleaning the shop and came in and warned us that the southwest corner of the shop was on fire. Smoke was billowing above the office," he recalled. "It happened so fast, the only thing we could escape with was our lives."

Employees did use fire extinguishers to try to put out the blaze but were chased out by the smoke. Personnel with the Blodgett, Miner and Vanduser fire departments fought the blaze.

Russell said it is believed the blaze was caused by spontaneous combustion. The fire started in insulation in one corner of the warehouse and then extended through the office.

Area residents may have heard the explosions. "We had acetylene bottles going off," Russell said.

Although the business suffered a total loss, many of the records were saved, thanks to the quick thinking of the firefighters who responded to the call, Russell said. No one was injured in the fire.

"I really want to commend the firemen," Russell said. "They went beyond the call to help save some of the files that were downstairs." He said the firemen retrieved the main computer hard drive which contained information vital to the business.

"We would have never been able to get to the hard drive to save it or anything out of the lower office. They saved some very intricate pieces of information. They were very professional."

Russell said they have set up operations in the garage next door. Emergency telephone service was installed and business is "going on as usual." Although this is the home office, the Texas and South Carolina locations will take over some of the calls.

"We perform a lot of videos to document inspections," he continued. "A lot of people with gas stations use our service for the 10-year internal inspections for their underground storage tanks, so we're required to keep duplicates." He said Media Consultants in Sikeston duplicates all their videos so they do have a backup of those.

Russell said although there is a lot of cleaning up to do, he hopes to start rebuilding in the next few months. "There was a large sum that's not going to be covered by insurance," he said. "But we will be able to put up a new building."