THREE-ALARM FIRE

THREE-ALARM FIRE — Sunnyside firefighters were first on the scene at Mountain States Construction Friday night finding the building fully involved in fire. More than 40 firefighters battled the inferno for nearly six hours.

SUNNYSIDE — Three Lower Valley ladder trucks and more than 40 firemen were called to the Mountain States Construction, 803 Scoon Road for a three-alarm fire Friday night shortly after 8 p.m.

Throughout the rainy evening, firemen tackled the fire from the roof and ground levels for more than six hours before the fire was extinguished.

The building was described as a total loss estimated at $2 million including contents.

The Sunnyside ladder truck was first on the scene, followed by the Grandview Fire Department ladder truck with Toppenish Department providing backup.

The Yakima County Fire Protection District #5 set up the command post for the fighters, according to Sunnyside Chief Ken Anderson. Also, on the scene were the West Benton County Fire District crews.

A Sunnyside fireman was injured during the course of the fire after falling through a second story floor and helped from the fire by Grandview Fire Captain Del Whitmore, Anderson reported.

“He was treated and fortunately, released the same evening,” Anderson said.

Anderson speculated at the scene the fire may have been caused by an ember from an earlier Friday morning fire at the Velasco Auto Repair next door, which damaged the north side of the building. “But the fire is still under investigation, and we are not ready to issue an exact cause,” he remarked.

The 6,000 square foot business offices were unoccupied at the time, said Angie Stamschror Bonds, a spokesperson for the third-generation family-owned construction company.

“Fortunately, a fire wall constructed between the offices and the shop did its job, so the equipment was saved,” Bonds remarked.

“We’re very grateful to fire department’s quick response and efforts to save the building,” she added.

“We do intend to rebuild,” Bonds said Sunday afternoon. “We’ll be bringing in mobile offices for daily business and we plan to have our administration operations working Monday [March 9],” she added.

Mountain States Construction, founded by Bond’s grandfather Henry A. Stamschror in 1964, employs between 60 and 75 individuals. Hank Stamschror, company president, is known throughout the Pacific Northwest for hydroelectric facilities, wineries, and the killer whale habitat at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

Julia Hart can be reached at 509-837-4500, ext. 123 or at jhart@sunnysidesun.com

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