NORTH BEND, Ore.
(KMTR) -- A large fire Monday night at the Southwest Oregon Regional airport burned one of the airport's hangars to the ground. With the building completely destroyed, the fire marshal says he may never be able to determine the cause of the fire.
Large flames were spotted by people in the area just after Monday evening. Deputy Fire Marshal Charles Chase says it's possible strong winds brought down power lines, which could have started the blaze. However, there was also a lot of construction equipment in the building, so the fire could have started for a number of reasons.
Airport officials are just pleased the flames were contained.
"It was controlled so well," says Theresa Cook, the airport's Executive Director. She said the wind was blowing very hard when she got on scene just after "No other buildings burned down and basically the airport was kept intact because of the great response by the fire department."
Cook says the North Bend Fire Department, along with four other fire departments in the area, fought the blaze throughout the night. Some crew members were still on site Tuesday, working to put out the final flames and to keep people away from the area.
Cook says that before the fire, the airport actually had plans to demolish the hangar Tuesday. The building did have historic value, but due to its poor condition and safety concerns, is was scheduled to be torn down.
The building was a 1941 World War II-era building, originally used for military training. It was used as a hangar for many years following, but was filled with asbestos and was in too poor a condition to continue using it.
There were no longer airplanes in the building when it went up in flames, just equipment from the demolition crews. Cook is unsure whether or not the fire will end up costing them more or less money in the long run.
"Hopefully the airport has saved some dollars in the fact that it was demo'd in this manner, but until the insurance companies review the causes,= and the contractors that were scheduled to demo it all weigh in, I couldn't say whether it's a benefit. I don't think it's going to be a greater loss to us," says Cook.
She says a couple other airport buildings had some slight fire damage and one personal airplane was melted because it was so close to the blaze. There are reportedly already ten or eleven different insurance companies dealing with the case.
Cooks says she had planned on saving some of the original wood from the hangar, to create a small replica for the local museum, but because of the fire, she is unable to do so.