GRAND FORKS — The warehouse fire in Grand Forks on Tuesday night, April 16, was so big that city fire crews said it was an all-hands-on-deck situation.

Grand Forks Fire Department battalion chief Battalion Chief Bruce Weymier said 17 people on duty, plus five engines, a ladder truck and command vehicle responded to the blaze, requiring virtually all of the department's resources at the time.

Even with all the help, it was a tough fire to fight. Crews couldn't get a direct aim at the fire until they cut through a security fence to get closer.

And when they did reach it, fire fighters had to call in a backup shift because of the fire's size.

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Though Grand Forks Fire Department's resources were tied up, it had a backup plan if there had been another fire.

"We do have an agreement with the air force base," Weymier said. "They would come up with their rapid intervention team. . . If we would have made entry into the building, they could have came up and backed us up."

The East Grand Forks Fire Department is also able to lend emergency responders and aerial help if needed.