Seven fire departments called in to fight fire at Caldwell seed company

CALDWELL, Idaho (KBOI) - A gym facility at a Caldwell seed company was destroyed in an early morning fire.

Firefighters say a smoke alarm system went off just before 5 a.m. Friday inside a workout facility at Crookham Company; a seed manufacturer in Caldwell. When crews got there the doors were all locked and they realized no one was inside. The fire was organically thought to be two-alarm, but firefighters quickly realized they needed more resources, and a three-alarm was called.

Many people in the area woke up to see smoke billowing from the fire.

"It was big, so I knew something big was going down," said Jackie Smith, a Caldwell resident. "The sky was black, but that big white plume.. It was kinda creepy looking in the sky."

Firefighters tell KBOI that no one was inside the burning building. Seven fire agencies from around the Treasure Valley responded to the scene.

Company officials said the building destroyed was a gym facility for its employees and had a bunch of exercise equipment.

"This fire when we rolled up on scene this morning, we had heavy fire showing in the building," said Caldwell Fire Battalion Chief Tim Scott. We sent two crews inside for initial fire attack but the fire was too big, so we backed out."

That's when they fought it from the outside, using every resource they had to keep it from spreading, including two ladder trucks extended into the sky, dumping water from above.

In the end, the fire was contained to just one building, which plant workers say is good because company vehicles and important seed products were in the buildings next door. Work at the company will resume with normal operations.

"We have 50 some buildings on site, this is a fairly small part if it and it's fairly remote from our main plant operations," said Kerry Pagenkopf, a plant supervisor.