After being called to one fire, crews spot a second, bigger fire Friday in North Platte

North Platte firefighters work to extinguish a Friday evening fire at Bridge Street Auto, 302 Rodeo Road, that sent dark clouds of black smoke billowing into the early-evening sky. The lone person inside escaped without injury, Battalion Chief Jason Trimble said.

Firefighters from North Platte’s north-side Station 2 never made it to their fire call Friday night.

They came across a bigger fire first.

The Station 2 crew, joined in time by other city and rural firefighters, had to cut through a metal garage door to douse a fire sending dark black smoke out the front, back and roof of Bridge Street Auto at 302 Rodeo Road.

A man working on one of three vehicles inside the garage escaped without injury, Battalion Chief Jason Trimble said. No one else was inside the building.

Trimble said the Station 2 shift was called about 6:30 p.m. from the station at 1302 N. Sycamore St., a block north of the used-car business, to respond to a fire in an empty rail car in the Union Pacific Railroad’s Bailey Yard.

As they turned onto Rodeo Road, they spotted smoke billowing from the Bridge Street Auto building. The Station 2 truck stopped, leaving it to west-side Station 3 to douse what proved to be a small fire in the rail car.

“We had to cut through that door to get it open to get better access” to the Bridge Street Auto garage, Trimble said. “There was a lot of heat from the cars burning.”

Three observers standing in the parking lot of the Lincoln Highway Diner, next door at 320 Rodeo Road, said they heard an explosion from the direction of the Bridge Street building. It rattled the diner’s walls, they said.

The fire was basically extinguished about 7:10 p.m., Trimble said. Fire damage was limited to the garage and the vehicles inside it, while the office area sustained smoke damage.

Fire marshals were just beginning to inspect the building to determine the cause, he said.

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