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Campbell firefighters put out fire at airport

A building that crews are demolishing at the airport caught on fire Aug. 23.

After the Aug. 23 fire at the former fixed base operations terminal. The building was under demolition prior to the fire. (Mary Stroka/County 17)

GILLETTE, Wyo. — Campbell County firefighters responded this morning to a fire at the airport near Gillette.

At about 11 a.m. Aug. 23, a minor fire was reported in the old Fixed Base Operations terminal at the Northeast Wyoming Regional Airport, 2000 Airport Road, Gillette, according to a news release. The airport crews responded to the fire with the onsite aircraft rescue fire fighting 1 truck, and the Campbell County Fire Department responded to the scene shortly thereafter. Campbell County Fire Department crews extinguished the fire and cleared the building of any other possible fires by about 11:55.

“The fire was caused during demolition work on the old Fixed Base Operations terminal; cutting torches used to dismantle beams ignited old insulation in the roof of the building,” the release said.

Crews are in the second week of a scheduled demolition of the terminal, the release said. Before the fire, gas and electricity were shut off to the building, limiting the risk of additional fuel sources for fires.

Spencer Wernke, who’s part of a team that’s a contractor for Van Ewing, said he believes that the fire may have been caused after his team was cutting red iron beams with a torch, but they didn’t see it start. While the team was away from the site, setting up a fuel account, an airport staff member called them and said the building was on fire.

“A spark went down the corner and it caught on some insulation and it must have just been sitting there. The wind was blowing so hard that I guess it just kept it burning,” Spencer said. “We were here for like an hour, hour and a half after that, and there was nothing. We didn’t see anything and I went through there and I stomped out some stuff. So, it’s kind of unexpected.”

A spark from a torch ignited insulation in part of the old Fixed Base Operations terminal, which is under demolition. (Mary Stroka/County 17)

Randy Wernke said a piece of insulation caught on fire and it was put out.

“Nothing really happened,” he said.