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Beale firefighter injured in building blaze

Huge portions of metal roofing melted off a large building at Beale Air Force Base on Monday during an afternoon fire that carried on into the evening.

A Beale Air Force Base firefighter was injured in the fire, which started at about 2:30 p.m. and tore through most of the 38,000-square-foot Civil Engineering Squadron building, said Brian Wagner, 9th Reconnaissance Wing spokesman.

The firefighter was sent to a hospital with only minor injuries.

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No one else was injured in the fire, as the building was empty aside from a lone occupant who escaped unharmed, Wagner said. The man inside the building at the time of the fire has not yet been identified, but is said to be a civilian who worked in the building.

His connection to the fire, if any, is unknown.

"One of my first thoughts was, 'Thank God it was a holiday,'" Wagner said.

Until an investigation is made, he said the cause of the fire will not be determined.

Fire departments from several nearby cities assisted Beale firefighters in extinguishing the flames, but Wagner said the building will likely be a total loss.

The building, built in 1953, is one of the few two-story buildings on the Yuba County base.

"When I first heard there was a fire here, I knew it had the potential to be very big," he said.

Although damage from the fire is still being assessed, Wagner said it would likely affect the base's operations.

"It's going to have a big impact," he said.

On a typical day, about 200 people work in the building, said Greg Capra, deputy of the Civil Engineering Squadron. Several departments utilize the building as a home base for plumbing, electrical, woodworking and other carpentry needs.

But with the fire destroying large sections of the building, Capra said it would be a challenge deciding what to do next.

"We'll rehuddle in the morning and see how we can get back to work," he said.

CONTACT Griffin Rogers at grogers@appealdemocrat.com or 749-4783. Find him on Facebook at /ADgriffinrogers or on Twitter at @ADgriffinrogers.


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