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Sivak: Fire that shut down Villard started in Bogey’s kitchen

Press Photo by April Baumgarten Dickinson firefighters help each other put on oxygen tanks and masks before going into the fire that started Saturday in downtown Dickinson.

A restaurant in downtown Dickinson sustained “extensive damage” from a Saturday fire, but most of the building is still structurally sound, Dickinson Fire Chief Bob Sivak said.

The Dickinson Fire Department was on scene Sunday on Villard Street between Sims Street and First Avenue West investigating the blaze that displaced five families and closed down several businesses. The fire started in the kitchen of Bogey’s Diner, Sivak said.

“We have a very good idea of where in the kitchen, and we are suspicious of some things that we really can’t say any more about until we talk and let some insurance investigators have their look at it,” he said.

Smoke was reported coming out of Bogey’s at approximately 5:30 p.m. Saturday, just hours after the alley behind the strip of businesses hosted a street fair to attract shoppers to downtown businesses. Dickinson firefighters responded to the scene within minutes.

Smoke billowed out of the seams, windows and doors of the buildings as firefighters attempted to put out the flame. The fire was under control at 7:37 p.m., but the last firetruck didn’t leave the area until almost 11:30 p.m. The time spent after 8 p.m. was dedicated mostly to overhaul, salvaging, checking for fire extension and extinguishing hot spots.

“Again, the fire found an old elevator shaft, not unlike what happened at the old Elks (Building),” Sivak said. “That’s how the fire transmitted itself to the second floor and actually up into the roof system. This time, we were able to find the shaft, get at it and stop the extension.”

In October 2007, a fire caused by a cutting torch started in the basement of the Elks Building a block northwest of Bogey’s. The Dickinson City Commission had selected Careage Inc. to renovate the building, but the fire, lawsuits and unpaid bills by the construction company delayed the project for almost five years.

“Extensive damage” was contained in Saturday’s fire to Bogey’s and the rooms above, which was used for storage, Sivak said. There is some structural damage to the roof in a limited area, but most of the building is still structurally sound, he added.

“It’s going to be quite a project,” Sivak said.

He added there is smoke damage to adjoining apartments and businesses, including Unique Nails, Karen & Friends Hair Studio, and Paw and Claw Pet Palace. Workers are in the process of getting the stores open for business and the residents displaced by the fire back in the apartments.

A city firefighter was taken to the hospital during the incident on Saturday, but no one else was injured. The only fatality was a cat that died from smoke inhalation, Sivak said.

The Dickinson Police Department and Stark County Sheriff’s Office assisted with blocking traffic on several streets, including Villard from Third Avenue West to Sims Street. The Dickinson Ambulance Service was also on scene.

More than 40 firefighters responded to the incident, Sivak said. The city fire department was originally short staffed and called for assistance from the Dickinson Rural Fire Department, which sent 10 firefighters. Eventually, 32 city firefighters responded to the fire.

Bogey’s has been open since 1996, owner Jackie Thomas told The Press on Sunday. She originally started working at the restaurant as a waitress 15 years ago before she bought the business from Jody and Carla Arthaud in 2008.

The restaurant on Villard is known for its burgers and old-fashioned decor, including a neon sign with a picture of Humphrey Bogart in the window. Several people were seen moving the antique signs out of the restaurant on Sunday.

Thomas didn’t know what to say about the fire. She added she was unsure what she would do with the building going forward.

“I’m just taking it one day at a time for now,” Thomas said.

April Baumgarten
April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, as the news editor. She works with a team of talented journalists and editors, who strive to give the Grand Forks area the quality news readers deserve to know. Baumgarten grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family continues to raise registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college,  she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as the Dickinson city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.