‘Total loss’

Investigators were working Friday to determine what sparked a fire that devastated the Ampride All-Round Travel Center in Fort Dodge.

The fire at 3243 Fifth Ave. S. was reported at about 10:55 p.m. Thursday. Firefighters worked all night to extinguish the blaze and the last emergency personnel left the scene at about 9 a.m. Friday.

A team of investigators from the Fort Dodge police and fire departments and the state fire marshal’s office then took over.

Fire Chief Kent Hulett said the building and its contents are a ”total loss.”

He said the fire damage was confined to the back of the building. He said the roof over the back of the building collapsed and a rear wall is structurally unsound.

The front part of the building sustained heavy heat and smoke damage, he said.

No one was injured in the blaze.

According to Hulett, the flames burned through the roof in the back of the building within five minutes after the first firefighters arrived.

”Once it vents the roof, it’s not safe for interior attack firefighting,” he said.

Firefighters then attacked the blaze from the outside. They used a large-caliber nozzle at the tip of the aerial ladder to direct a stream of water into the flames from above. Water was also sprayed onto a 1,000-gallon tank of kerosene on the property.

”That was a concern,” Hulett said. ”We put a hose on that very quickly.”

Guests at the nearby Country Inn & Suites, 3259 Fifth Ave. S., did not have to evacuate.

The combination gasoline station and convenience store is owned by W&H Cooperative Oil Co., of Humboldt. Attempts to contact company representatives were unsuccessful Friday.

It was built in 1967, according to online records of the Webster County assessor’s office.

The business had closed at about 10 p.m. Thursday, according to Hulett.

Long stretches of Fifth Avenue South and South 32nd Street were closed while firefighters worked.

Fort Dodge firefighters and police were assisted at the scene by the Iowa State Patrol, paramedics from Trinity Regional Medical Center and employees of the city Public Works Department. Badger firefighters were on standby in Fort Dodge to handle any other emergencies that may have occurred while their Fort Dodge counterparts were working at the scene.