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Fire destroys building in Kitamae

Date Posted: 2011-11-01

One building was completely destroyed and another badly damaged in the flames this week as a fire reportedly started by employees welding swept through Chatan Wednesday.

The Marine Corps Base Fire Department at Camp Foster responded to the fire, just outside the base’s Kitamae Gate, at the request of Japanese police. The fire was in the Daiwa Electrical Warehouse, an electronic warehouse off-base. The fire spread to surrounding apartment complexes, but residents were evacuated in time.

MCB firefighters were providing support for the Chatan Fire Department, according to Harry W. Farmer, Jr., deputy assistant chief of staff with G-3/5, MCB Camp Butler.
“Our crews worked side-by-side with host-nation firefighters”, said Scott Minakami, the MCB Fire Department fire chief. “Our trucks supported theirs and their trucks supported ours.”

The MCB Fire Department dispatched two fire-engines and three support vehicles. Camp Foster's Provost Marshal's Office also responded with two vehicles that controlled traffic and kept nearby civilians at a safe distance. Military officials said the response demonstrated the success of a mutual-aid agreement with Chatan.

Throughout the year the Butler Fire Department conducts training exercises with fire departments from prefectures near military installations to prepare for actual events like this. “We have a great working relationship with the local fire departments near installations”, Minakami noted. “[The] response was a textbook definition of how well that relationship works.”

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

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