The cause of the fire at Farritor Auto Parts on Monday, December 20 was due to a cutting torch, according to Broken Bow Fire Chief Jason Baum.
Baum told KCNI/KBBN, employees of Farritor’s were working in the back of the shop when sparks from the torch ignited flammable materials. The employees attempted to put out the fire with a fire extinguisher, but were unable to do so. The flames began to work their way through the building and into the roof. Baum stated that putting the fire out was difficult due to the metal on the outside of the building preventing firefighters from accessing the interior of the business.
As reported on Monday, at approximately 11:45 AM Broken Bow Fire and Rescue was dispatched to a building fire at Farritor Auto Parts at 1654 S. E Street in Broken Bow. Additional assistance was requested from Merna Volunteer Fire Department to help contain the blaze.
KCNI/KBBN was on the scene where black smoke could be seen billowing from the rear of the building. Broken Bow and Merna Fire Departments began to attack the fire from both sides of the building from the ground and from the air with ladder trucks. The fire spread through the roof of the building which caused the roof to eventually collapse.
Broken Bow Fire responded with four trucks and twenty-two firemen while Merna assisted with two trucks and twelve firemen.
Broken Bow Fire and Rescue, Merna Volunteer Fire Department, Broken Bow Police Department, Nebraska State Fire Marshall, Broken Bow Electrical Department, Black Hills Energy, and Broken Bow City Officials were all visibly on scene.
Two Farritor employees were taken to Melham Medical Center by Broken Bow EMS as a precaution. No other injuries were reported.
The losses were estimated at over $1 million.