Fire tears through Douglas County DOT warehouse causing extensive damage

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A fire so hot it melted metal as flames raced through a warehouse in Douglas County.  The county's DOT heavy machinery is stored in the building, much of it was heavily damaged. 

"Heavy trucks, dump truck, front loader equipment, plows that can be attached to trucks and other equipment is in there," said Rick Martin with Douglas County.

Once the flames were out, the damage was clearly visible.  The heat from the fire buckled the metal siding of the building.  The cab of one of the paving trucks was no match for the fire.  

"We're talking about metal equipment that melted," said Martin.

An ambulance crew had pulled up to the gas pumps at the Chicago Avenue facility around 3 a.m. Tuesday and saw smoke coming from the building.  Firefighters were on the scene in minutes and began battling the blaze. 

The salt and sand piles used for ice and snow outside the building were untouched.  The gas pumps on the lot were also out of reach of the flames or it could have been much worse.

"I think we're real fortunate we were able to respond as quickly as we did," said Martin. 

It's too early for county officials to estimate the damage in dollars.  They'll be taking a closer look at all the equipment that was inside and determine what can be repaired and what will need to be replaced. 

As of Tuesday evening, there was no word on a cause of the fire.  Investigators from the State Fire Marshall's office will be at the warehouse Wednesday to help in the investigation.