Investigators determine origin, damages estimate of Atlas Avenue fire

Fire damages warehouse on Madison's east side Tuesday

Published On: Jan 28 2014 06:50:12 AM CST   Updated On: Jan 30 2014 06:26:34 AM CST
MADISON, Wis. -

Investigators have determined the origin and estimated damages of Tuesday's fire on Atlas Avenue.

PHOTO GALLERY

The blaze inside a warehouse in the 300 block of Atlas Avenue Tuesday morning started in a maintenance room, according to a release. The building is a manufacturing facility for Windsor Building Systems and contained material for roof trusses.

Officials said potential causes are being investigated, but there is no evidence that suggests the fire was intentionally set.

According to the release, the amount of damage to the warehouse is expected to be between $1 and $2 million.

Madison Fire Chief Steven Davis said the temperature was 15 degrees below zero when firefighters arrived on the scene Tuesday just after 6 a.m.

The Madison Fire Department asked for buses at the scene to keep firefighters warm. Firefighters were being rotated in and out of the cold every 15 minutes.

Davis said rotations off hose lines are crucial for firefighters because there’s a real chance of hypothermia in Tuesday’s weather conditions.

Davis reported a couple slips and falls, but no serious injuries.

Wirth said firefighters had gone into defensive mode in fighting the fire. That means firefighters were ordered out of the building and only fought the fire from the outside.

Davis said the cold prevented the fire department from aggressively attacking the fire.

Atlas Avenue between Neptune Court and Robertson Road were closed to let crews fight the fire.

Crews had to go through the neighborhood looking for working fire hydrants, since many of the nearby hydrants are frozen or putting out water slowly.

In the end, the company’s main office and roof truss building were destroyed, but crews were able to keep the fire from spreading to two other main warehouses.

“It’s bad, but it could have been worse,” Windsor Business Systems President Virgil Wah said.

Wah said the company plans to move some of its operations to a plant in Iowa.