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Posted June 28, 2006 EST

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Fire Destroys IDOT Equipment
A fire that broke out Tuesday morning in a storage shed at the Illinois Department of Transportation's operation maintenance yard in Bethalto destroyed nearly $80,000 worth of construction equipment. Firefighters were called to the scene just before 8 a.m., after state employees spotted flames coming from a 3,600-square-foot brick-and-wood building at 200 S. Bellwood Drive. The property is adjacent to Illinois Route 111.

Joe Monroe, acting operations engineer with IDOT District 8 in Collinsville, said he was traveling from his home in Godfrey on his way to work when he received the telephone call that a fire had destroyed the cold storage building. He said a 3-ton dump truck, a concrete saw and a walk-behind roller were lost in the blaze.

"Employees who were preparing to go do some pavement repair work spotted it," Monroe said.

A plume of thick black smoke could be seen for miles by residents and motorists. Bethalto firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze quickly.

Nearly a dozen firefighters in three firetrucks spent more than an hour at the scene to make sure the fire didn't rekindle and ignite highly flammable liquids. They used ladder trucks to douse the charred building with water and prevent the fire from spreading to a nearby diesel fuel tank.

Although the state is self-insured, Monroe said the loss is estimated to be near $80,000. He said that, besides the heavy-duty construction equipment, smaller items were destroyed by the fire.

"There's not too much left," Monroe said.

He said it was unclear what started the fire; an investigation was under way to determine its cause and origin.

Nobody was injured in the fire, Monroe said.

Written by The Telegraph

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