UPDATE: Grand Island Building Destroyed by Fire

By: 10/11 News Team Email
By: 10/11 News Team Email
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GRAND ISLAND, Neb. -- The Grand Island Fire Department is still investigating the cause of a massive fire Sunday night in downtown Grand Island.

It took more than 50 firefighters to put out a fire that burned down three businesses late Sunday night. One firefighter was treated and released from the hospital with minor injuries.

Flames engulfed three businesses in downtown Grand Island Sunday night, including Ron's Transmission, J & J Used Furniture and Shady Bend Builders. It took nearly four hours to put out the fire.

The owner of Ron's Transmission was too devastated about the fire to talk to 10/11 News. Her business has been in Grand Island for nearly 30 years.

"Three businesses involved, with a fourth that wasn't quite so heavily damaged. So it's going to affect a lot of people's businesses and lives," said Cory Schmidt the GI Fire Chief.

The fourth business is Edward's Electronics. The two owners only bought the store three days ago. They watched the entire fire from the street.

"All of a sudden at 9:30 the building just went up in flames..I mean there were flames 30 feet high coming out of this thing's front windows I mean just unreal. And all the while myself and my business partner... looking at the scene here, I can't believe we're standing basically untouched over there," said Brian Bohrer a co-owner of Edward's Electronics.

Their business, Bohrer says, remained standing thanks to the Grand Island, Hastings and St. Paul fire departments.

"The fire, like I said, started approximately 8 o'clock. It was still burning pretty heavily at 11:30, so it took about three and a half to four hours to get it extinguished," said Schmidt.

Bohrer says he's grateful to have a store.

"To be here this morning, and see everything working and structurally there, I mean we feel very lucky, blessed, I mean you name it. We're just elated that we're still here."

The cost of damages hasn't been determined. There's still a lot of clean up to be done on 3rd street. Firefighters said they are hoping to have it cleared and open Tuesday.

Fire crews began battling the fire near West 3rd & North Elm Streets, just before 8 p.m. Sunday at Ron's Transmission.

After two hours, several crews continued to battle the fire and called in mutual aid from GI Rural Fire, and Hastings and St. Paul.

Bystanders were moved away from the fire due to hazards inside including drums of oil.

At 10 p.m. Sunday huge flames were still coming from the entire structure with no signs of letting up as water poured in from fire engines and ladder trucks.

By 11 p.m. the fire appeared to be mainly out, with only smoke coming from the building.


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