The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Local and State News

May 11, 2014

Electrical fire ruled out in blaze of city-owned building

ENID, Okla. — A vacant structure owned by the city of Enid burned on Sunday evening.

The building is located at 424 S. Grand, according to Garfield County Assessor records. It was acquired by the city last year and was scheduled for demolition, Enid Fire Department Fire Marshal Ken Helms said.

Due to a sign located at the front of the burned building, Helms previously identified the structure as being 418 S. Grand and said it was the former location of A.C.’s Auto and Cycle.

A.C.’s Auto and Cycle is located at 418 S. Grand and remains open for business.

The fire department was dispatched to the fire at about 6 p.m. Sunday. The blaze was believed to be out by 8:30 p.m.

When firefighters arrived, flames were coming through the roof, Helms said.

“It was pretty difficult to fully extinguish, because they couldn’t get water to certain areas of the structure because they couldn’t make entry safely,” he said. “We were having to do a defensive mode of firefighting, so fighting from the exterior shooting water in from the roof ... and large hand lines at ground level until we finally were able to get it knocked down.”

A crew remained at the scene through the night to make sure the fire did not rekindle.

“With the wind blowing as hard as it was, it was kind of reigniting timbers,” Helms said. “A large portion of the roof has burned away, and/or collapsed.

“We’ve got some concern with the strong winds that we could have some more collapse hazard here, too.”

An investigation into the cause of the fire was not pursued overnight.

“Once it got dark and the wind was still blowing that hard, we decided it was not safe to be inside the structure to investigate. So we’re back there today evaluating whether it’s safe or not to do that now,” Helms said on Monday.

According to Helms, he had received several reports that some doors to the burned building were open for the past several days.

“So, it’s vacant, but it has been unsecured,” Helms said.

There was no electricity to the structure, so an electrical fire already has been ruled out, he said.

City of Enid spokesman Steve Kime said the burned building — which formerly housed a scuba diving shop — was not insured by the city because it was going to be demolished.

The city has acquired several buildings that are slated for demolition and officials were waiting to demolish the buildings at the same time, he said.

“I think we’ve got one more property to purchase. So once that is purchased, then all the buildings will go at once. It’s cheaper to do it that way,” Kime said, adding that he does not know which building the city is going to purchase.

City officials were not aware, at any time, of the building not being secured, he said.

“All of our buildings are locked. Even though we hear out in the world that it wasn’t secured, we don’t have any reports to us that it was unlocked, doors left wide open, and we left it that way,” he said. “We’re not aware of doors being open. As far as we know, everything is secured.”

The city paid $120,000 for the property.

Dale Denwalt contributed to this report.

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