Arson investigation underway at Fort Collins million-dollar warehouse fire

11 Aug

FORT COLLINS – Firefighters Wednesday morning were still on the scene of a three-alarm fire that caused more than $1 million in damage in northwest Fort Collins on Tuesday evening.

The fire broke out shortly after 5 p.m. at a 75-by-200-foot single-story warehouse and workshop at Forney Industries, 1830 LaPorte Ave., sending a heavy cloud of noxious smoke over the city.

This morning, fire investigators with Poudre Fire Authority and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were beginning to seek the fire’s cause and exactly what burned. Firefighters remained at the fire to douse any lingering hot spots, said PFA Capt. Sharon McNeil.

Air-quality tests last night prompted firefighters to conclude that the smoke, while irritating, posed little direct threat to the public. The visible smoke has dissipated this morning, although the smell still lingers.

At the fire site, foam and water still drip from the corrugated metal sides of the building, which collapsed as the fire roared through it. At least one of the metal beams supporting the roof appears to have buckled from intense heat.

PFA spokesman Patrick Love said no one was injured in the fire, but that one area resident complained of breathing difficulties due to the smoke. Love said no additional information about that person was available.

Forney Industries President and CEO Steve Anderson said the company, a longtime family-owned distribution company, won’t suffer too badly from the loss of the building.

“It was more overflow storage than anything,” he said on Tuesday evening. “We can re-order a lot of the product in there and it’s insured so I don’t think we’ll have too many problems.”

Forney Industries has operated in Fort Collins for more than 80 years. The company offers more than 4,500 products ranging from hardware, automotive and farm and ranch equipment, according to the company’s Website.

In 1949, a fire at Forney Industries caused $235,000 worth of damage to the company’s sole building at the time.

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