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Beale fire damage estimates exceed $10M
Damage estimates from the Beale Air Force fire on Monday exceed $10 million, authorities said on Tuesday.
The fire, which started in the civil engineering building, continued to smolder the day after it began.
Senior Airman Shawn Nickel indicated the structure is a total loss.
"The building is pretty much gone," Nickel said.
Firefighters and security forces were on scene extinguishing hot spots.
"Even this morning (Tuesday) you could still see flames," Capt. Brian Wagner said. "It will probably continue smoldering for at least another day."
It remains unclear how the fire started.
Built in the 1940s as a wooden structure, fire suppression sprinklers were only installed in certain areas of the building over the years.
"Of course, if the fire is burning in the roof above, it's still going to cause problems, even where there are sprinklers," Wagner said.
Flames sparked around 2:30 p.m. Monday, causing major damage to the 38,000-square-foot building.
One firefighter, who has not been identified, was hospitalized with unspecified minor injuries.
No other injuries were reported.
Officials said it was fortunate the fire sparked on a holiday — Martin Luther King Jr. Day — as only one person was working in the building. Usually, authorities said, about 200 people work inside the two-story building.
Wagner said the next challenge for the base is to find new space of the all displaced workers.
It remains unclear how much property was lost and damage estimate could rise in coming days.
"It was kind of like a public works department for the base," Wagner said.