UPDATE 5 PM: Great Falls Fire Rescue (GFFR) released more information in relation to the National Laundry Fire on Monday night.
After GFFR arrived on scene, firefighters noticed smoke coming from the roof of the building.
Firefighters entered the building through a door on the East side of the building and were met with heavy smoke and no visibility.
When entry was made into the building, firefighters encountered two males in the building who were National Laundry employees attempting to put the fire out.
The employees had been notified of the alarm activation by the fire alarm monitoring company.
Both employees were escorted out of the building and assessed by GFES, but both employees refused any further medical care on completion of the medical assessment.
After firefighters reentered the building, they discovered the fire was being held in check by the building’s sprinkler system.
Even with the sprinkler system keeping the fire in check, firefighters did have a tough time getting the fire knocked down, but they were able to get it fully under control.
The cause of the fire has been determined to be the spontaneous combustion of mop heads. There are numerous fires that have been documented as being caused by the spontaneous combustion of mop heads at laundry facilities, as noted in Spontaneous Ignition Fires in Laundries by Jim Everitt.
Fire damage in National Laundry was limited by the presence of the fire sprinkler system. Without this system in place, the entire complex could have been lost.
As of now, total damages to National Laundry have not been determined, and they are working to get the business reopened.