Arcata Fire District firefighters were called to a reported structure fire at the McKinleyville Safeway located at 1503 City Center Road. Battalion Chief Gomes arrived on scene first and discovered black smoke coming from a vent on the back of the building. Being Sprinkler familiar with the building layout, Gomes knew the fire was in the storeroom and directed the first due engine from the McKinleyville Station to make entry at the rear of the store, and initiate fire attack. Store employees confirmed the fires location and had initiated a building evacuation. The crews located the fire in the loft machinery room, above the rear storeroom and the building’s sprinkler system had been triggered. The fire attack team used the buildings ladder way to gain access to the loft and deploy a hose line to the fire to complete extinguishment. The second arriving engine from Mad River Station supported the fire attack operation by securing a water supply. The third engine from Arcata Station, and subsequent arriving CalFire and Fieldbrook engines, assisted with water removal to the sales floor and storeroom and applied salvage techniques to save computer equipment and merchandise.
The fire loss was minimal, with an estimate of $2000 in damages. Battalion Chief Gomes reports “The fire was held by the sprinkler systems that had activated properly, which assisted the firefighters in quickly extinguishing the burning material. The combination of the two, saved this multi-million dollar building and its contents. Safeway was open for business the next day.”
The cause of fire was determined to be ordinary combustibles stored too close to hot mechanical equipment.
Additional engines from Humboldt Bay Fire and Blue Lake Fire covered District stations while the incident was occurring.
Arcata Fire District would like to remind all businesses and residents to keep adequate clearance around mechanical and electrical service equipment and ensure that sprinkler systems and extinguishers are checked regularly and functioning properly.