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Three businesses affected by fire in Irongate warehouse

Bellingham Fire crews work at the scene of Sunday night’s fire at a warehouse in the Irongate industrial area.
Bellingham Fire crews work at the scene of Sunday night’s fire at a warehouse in the Irongate industrial area. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

A fire Sunday night damaged four units of a subdivided warehouse that contains several small businesses in the Irongate industrial area of north Bellingham, officials said.

No one was injured in the 10 p.m. fire at 3815 Bakerview Spur. Cause of the fire and a damage estimate weren’t available Monday, said Assistant Chief Bill Hewett of the Bellingham Fire Department.

Hewett said fire damage was contained to the unit where it started, Solid State Glass Supply. Smoke damage affected a neighboring storage unit and two other businesses – JSport Autoworks repair shop and Heston Towing.

It could’ve gotten really ugly.

Chris Heston, Heston Towing

The fire was reported by a JSport employee who heard an explosion as he was cleaning tools in preparation for an expected busy Monday morning, said shop owner Jake Smart.

Smart said the area is normally deserted on a Sunday night.

“He said it shook, rocked the whole building,” Smart said. “It’s lucky he was here. We’re counting our blessings.”

Smart said he’s received several calls from customers who were worried about their cars. But he said the shop suffered only from the odor of smoke and that firefighters provided large fans to ventilate the building.

Towing company owner Chris Heston said the neighboring unit is rented to Solid State Glass Supply, a glass blower and stained glass supplier. Its inventory includes oxygen tanks, acetylene gas bottles and other hazardous chemicals.

“It could’ve gotten really ugly,” said Heston, whose business is affiliated with Heston Towing. He said Heston Towing sustained soot and odor from smoke, and damage to two doors that firefighters forced open to gain access to the main fire.

Hewett said that when the first engine companies arrived, firefighters found that thick black smoke roiled through the glassworks unit and was banked to within five feet of the floor in adjacent units.

He said fire crews forced the door and put the flames out quickly. Fire was contained to a 10- by 20-foot area.

Sprinklers and smoke alarms aren’t required because the building was built before fire codes required those safety measures, Hewett said. He said some individual units have smoke alarms.

Online records show that the 8,900-square-foot warehouse was valued at $1.27 million, when it was listed for sale in 2015.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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