Doug Haugen believes that losses from a fire that broke out at his business Sunday will be well over the initial estimate of $150,000.
No one was injured in the fire at C.D. Haugen Trucking in Eckles Township. The fire was reported about 2:45 p.m. by a truck driver who returned to the site after completing a route and noticed smoke coming out of the building.
The fire, according to Bemidji Fire Chief Dave Hoefer, began as a vehicle fire in one of the semi tractors. While the fire was contained to that vehicle, there was heavy smoke and heat damage to the building and its contents.
The department estimated the damage at $150,000, including the loss of the semi tractor and damage to the building and contents.
Haugen said Monday that he believes damages will be well over $200,000, and possibly near $300,000. There was a lot of heat and smoke damage to the building, he said.
Haugen said there were four other semi tractors in the building at the time of the fire.
Nobody was inside since workers left for the day about noon, he noted.
"I kind of wish they had been (on site)," he said. "They would have been able to put it out."
The five-year-old building is covered by insurance and work will not be affected by the fire, Haugen said.
Other than the destroyed semi tractor, which was a 2007 Peterbilt, Haugen said, all of the other trucks are fine, including a brand-new Peterbilt that was parked next to the one that caught fire.
The Bemidji Fire Department on Monday concluded its investigation, Hoefer said, declaring the fire to be accidental. The origin was, as he suspected, the semi tractor.
Hoefer said the business was fortunate in that the fire occurred at about 3 p.m. instead of 3 a.m. since firefighters could respond quickly and contain the fire to the vehicle and prevent it from spreading to the walls.
Twenty-two firefighters responded with three fire engines, three tankers and one ladder truck.
Still, he said, there was a good amount of damage from the heat and smoke. Lights located up high in the ceiling were damaged, not from flames, but from the heat.
"The whole building was smoked up," he said.
Assisting at the scene of was the Beltrami County Sheriff's Office and Bemidji Ambulance Service.