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Fire destroys First Capital Salvage

BELMONT — A fire at First Capitol Salvage Thursday morning required seven fire departments to put out the fire.
The fire was reported around 9:40 a.m., with fuel reported within the building, Lafayette County Sheriff Reg Gill said in a news release.
First Capitol president Fred Runde said the fire started in its 20,000-square-foot recycling warehouse, which was filled with scrap metal and car parts.
“Thankfully our employees were able to quickly evacuate the facility,” said Runde in a news release from First Capitol’s insurance agency, M3 Insurance of Madison.
The six on-site employees were uninjured, Runde said.
Belmont firefighters were on scene until around 5 p.m., with other departments on scene for several hours after being called for mutual aid.
About 20 of Belmont’s 55 firefighters initially fought the fire, with others added as they returned from work or back to Belmont.
“It didn’t take a lot of manpower because we weren’t in the building,” said Belmont Fire Chief Corey Austin. “It’s not like you’re in doing a lot of salvage. The main thing for all of the departments was basically water.”
Belmont firefighters were assisted by tankers from Shullsburg, Darlington and Platteville, along with the Darlington Fire Department aerial truck. Rewey, Mineral Point and Cuba City firefighters were called later in the morning. The state Department of Natural Resources and the Jo Daviess/Grant/Lafayette Regional Hazmat team also assisted on the scene.
Runde thanked the fire departments whose “prompt response ensured the safety of our employees and community.”
Smoke from the fire could be seen for several miles. Smoke from the fire traveled east over the village, then weather conditions changed and smoke started to settle closer to the ground. Belmont EMTs went door to door as a precaution given the unknown content of the smoke. Police chief Kurt Malott said anyone wanting to leave was offered the Belmont Community Building or the Belmont Convention Center.
Around 10:45 a.m., several booms were heard from the fire scene, which Runde said were exploding tires.
The cause of the fire is not known, but is not suspicious in nature, Gill said.
Runde said following cleanup and determination of the cause of the fire the company would “take necessary steps to continue serving the community.”