Local News

Eight injured in Fort Bragg barracks fire

Posted August 26, 2010 12:22 p.m. EDT
Updated August 26, 2010 6:23 p.m. EDT

— Eight people were injured Thursday morning in a fire at a barracks under construction on Fort Bragg, authorities said.

Investigators with the Fort Bragg Fire Department said they believe a welding torch sparked the fire, but the cause of the blaze remains under investigation.

"There were contractors in here working (Thursday) that had welding capabilities and a permit to do that. I don't know if any of them were welding," Fire Battalion Chief Scott McGuire said.

The fire was reported at about 10:20 a.m. on the roof of the three-story barracks at the corner of Salerno and Bastonge drives on post. About 60 firefighters from Fort Bragg and at least a half-dozen nearby fire departments responded, McGuire said.

It took more than three hours to extinguish the blaze.

McGuire said the fire burned the sheathing – the layers of boards and protective covering – on the roof, which prevented it from spreading rapidly.

"It would be more of a smoldering fire just between the components of the roof," he said.

Six people, including five first responders, were treated for smoke inhalation at Womack Army Medical Center and released, and two others were treated at Cape Fear Valley Medical Center in Fayetteville, McGuire said.

The 58-bed, 27,000-square-foot barracks will house members of the 4th Brigade Combat Team of the 82nd Airborne Division. Fort Bragg officials didn't provide an estimate of the damage caused by the fire.

Construction on the building was about 50 percent complete, and it was scheduled to open next March. Fort Bragg officials said the fire would delay the opening by about three months.

"The roofing contractors are going to have to come back in," McGuire said. "They'll first strip off the sheathing and shingles and everything that's on that."