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Fire destroys New Rockford newspaper building

NEW ROCKFORD, N.D. - About 48 hours after fire destroyed the building and most of the equipment for the New Rockford Transcript newspaper, the newspaper has a new temporary home and its staff is working on this week's edition.

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Bruce Hirchert, New Rockford fire chief, left, confers with Derek Hill, federal agent with ATF, Monday at the scene of the fire that destroyed the New Rockford Transcript newspaper.
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NEW ROCKFORD, N.D. – About 48 hours after fire destroyed the building and most of the equipment for the New Rockford Transcript newspaper, the newspaper has a new temporary home and its staff is working on this week's edition.

Craig Voigt, owner and publisher of the New Rockford Transcript, said the newspaper is operating out of office space in the Vorland Land Co. building. Voigt and his staff were able to salvage one of the weekly newspaper's computers.

Voigt said he and his staff have experienced a wide range of emotions since the Saturday fire.

"Right now we're all shocked," Voigt said Monday morning. "You don't realize what you have until it's gone."

By Monday afternoon, Voigt said he and his eight employees were feeling better.

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"We're in pretty good spirits after we were able to get our computer set up," he said. "We started rolling out pages today."

Bruce Hirchert, New Rockford fire chief, said his department was paged out by Eddy County 911 at 12:52 p.m. Saturday to the fire. He said the firefighters were on scene in six minutes.

An investigator with the North Dakota State Attorney General Fire Marshall Division inspected the remains of the building at 632 1st Ave. N Monday and determined the fire was electrical, but how the fire started is still being investigated, Voight said.

Hirchert said the nearby Sheyenne and Carrington fire departments were called to provide mutual aid.

"We fought this (fire) from three different angles with deck gun trucks until roughly 5:30 p.m.," Hirchert said.

Voigt said people were in the building about 15 minutes before the fire started. No one was in the building at the time the fire started.

Hirchert said there were six to eight firefighters on the scene and seven units fighting the fire. He said the firefighting effort was hampered by high winds and hot, humid weather. The wind was blowing 25 mph and it was 98 degrees, he said.

Hirchert said said when firefighters first entered the building he thought maybe the fire could be contained to the front office area of the building.

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"Then it (the fire) got into the attic and with the wind, it just took off," he said.

Firefighters stayed on the scene until 8:30 a.m. Sunday to make sure there were no flareups.

"We had two guys who were affected by the heat," he said. "Both had heat exertion and were a little dehydrated."

One of the affected firefighters came back to the scene en route to the Community Health Center in New Rockford after he started feeling better, Hirchert said. He said both firefighters have recovered.

Hirchert said the fire destroyed the New Rockford Transcript building, but an adjacent building that houses an insurance company received only smoke damage.

The New Rockford Transcript was established in 1883. It prints on Fridays and has a circulation of about 1,200 each week, according to Voigt.

Now that his paper has a temporary home, Voigt said he will start finding a new permanent home for the newspaper. The newspaper is printed in West Fargo and shipped to New Rockford through Jamestown for distribution.

Anyone who needs to reach the staff of the New Rockford Transcript, call the newspaper's temporary office at (701) 302-0578.

Related Topics: FIRES
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