Questions linger in downtown fire
Two days after a fire ripped through Dickinson's downtown historic Elks building, many questions remain. Answers, however, are on the way. Dickinson Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bob Sivak said they found the fire's point of origin Wednesday. "...
Two days after a fire ripped through Dickinson's downtown historic Elks building, many questions remain.
Answers, however, are on the way.
Dickinson Volunteer Fire Department Chief Bob Sivak said they found the fire's point of origin Wednesday.
"The northwest corner of the basement was the point of origin, and hopefully, within the next day or so we'll be able to conclusively say what started it, depending on past history," Sivak said.
He said the water level in the basement was low enough, down to about 6 inches, by 10 a.m., allowing the fire department to conduct its inspection.
"At this point the probable cause looks to be accidental...but we can conclusively say that along with the cause in a day or so," Sivak said.
"Nobody is allowed in our facility; nobody has had access to our building," Tabor said.
He said the engineer's first step was to determine the former Elks Building was not in immediate danger of collapsing.
"The tentative information they have on that the (Elks) building itself appears to be structurally sound," Tabor said. "There appears to be no imminent danger."
Tabor said the next step for the engineer is to determine the extent of the water damage at the bank.
Brinkman hired Derry Evanger from PCS Structural Solutions of Seattle, Wash., to determine the building's integrity. Wells Fargo hired Alex Traeholt from Ulteig Engineers in Bismarck.
Evanger was unavailable for comment. Brinkman could not be reached for comment.
Sivak said the next step for the department, along with people from the state fire marshal's office, is to talk with the contractors and workers before it can conclusively say how the fire started.
Sivak said based on where the fire started, it gives the firefighters a couple of ideas as to what maybe caused the fire.
"Knowing the type of work and the kind of equipment will help us to finalize what happened," Sivak said.
Sivak said Tuesday according to the contractor, the workers had quit for the day and gone home at about 4:30 p.m. on the day of the fire.
Structural engineers for Wells Fargo Bank and Granville "Beaver" Brinkman, who owns the downtown building, evaluated the integrity of the former Elks buildings Wednesday afternoon.
Sivak said the official word on the structural integrity would be forthcoming in the next couple of days, but the initial reaction is the building is not in danger of imminent collapse.
"Until I get word from him, we'll keep the barricades up," Sivak said.
Wells Fargo Bank President Daryl Tabor said the structural engineer hired by the bank has not yet toured its facility. The Wells Fargo Bank downtown sits directly north of the former Elks Building.