LOVELAND, Colo. (CBS4)– The cause of last week’s fire that destroyed the Ward Building in Loveland has been linked to grinding equipment that ignited insulation material.
The 3-alarm fire broke out July 9 in the building’s attic. The Ward Building is located at 2114 North Lincoln Ave. It contained several offices including Ward Construction, a dentist’s office, a CPA office and a counseling center.
Investigators with Loveland Fire Rescue Authority determined the fire originated when a ventilation maintenance worker using grinding equipment accidentally ignited insulation material in the building’s attic.
The owner of the 10,779-square-foot building told investigators that a handyman had been working on the HVAC system at the southeast corner of the building. Metal grinding operations ignited a fire in the cellulose insulation and fiberboard within the attic at approximately 7:30 p.m. July 9.
The handyman used two dry chemical fire extinguishers and a garden hose in an attempt to extinguish the fire, removed burned debris from the attic and examined the fire area. He said he felt the fire was out and left the scene after consulting with a building owner on the scene at approximately 8 p.m.
Assessment of burn patterns and witness interviews confirmed that the area of fire origin was within the attic at the southeast corner of the building. All other potential fire causes were ruled out, and the cause of the fire was determined to be accidental.
A total of seven fire departments rushed to put out the fire at the building. Nearby homes and businesses were evacuated because smoke from the fire was a health concern.
It took two hours for fire crews to get the fire under control. The solar panels on the roof made it more difficult to get the blaze contained.
“They didn’t cause problems directly but because they’re there, in order to try to get behind them and get to the fire that was burning beneath them it created a little bit of trouble but there’s an access on the other side of it that we were able to get in there and work it out pretty well,” said Loveland Fire Division Chief Ned Sparks.
“This was a very unfortunate incident for the building owners, the building tenants, and of course for the maintenance worker who had been working at the property,” LFRA Deputy Fire Marshal Scott Pringle said. “The good news is that there were no fatalities or any serious injuries as a result of this fire. The property damage to the building and contents was severe, and unfortunately all of the tenants of this office building have been displaced.