Huge fire destroys building that houses Linn Co. Sheriff's Offic - KPTV - FOX 12

Huge fire destroys building that houses Linn Co. Sheriff's Office substation, library in Mill City

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Photo: Jerry Freeman Photo: Jerry Freeman
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MILL CITY, OR (KPTV) -

A huge fire broke out in Mill City Thursday morning, destroying a building that houses a Linn County Sheriff's substation, Oregon State Police, The Public Works Department and the Library.

The Linn County Sheriff Office said the fire began around 11:40 a.m. when a city public works employee, Gerald L. Curtis, 58, had parked some small equipment inside the public works garage when solvents caught fire and accelerated up the wall. 

LCSO said Curtis used a nearby hose in attempt to extinguish the fire. The fire kept spreading and Curtis ran out of the building to evacuate others in the building.

Mill City Fire Department quickly responded and extinguished the fire minimizing collateral damage to surrounding buildings. 

Library Director and City Councilor Susan Heller wasn't there when the fire started, but she rushed to the scene when she heard the building was burning.

"I sat there and watched the library burn.  And it hurts my heart," said Heller.  "You’re losing over 10,000 books. You’re losing a place that has the only public computer and printer in the community."

The 7,440 square foot building is said to be a total loss and valued at about $900,000.

The sheriff said two deputies were in the substation when the fire broke out, and one was able to grab some equipment before getting out. The substation contained computer systems, files, desks and other office equipment.

No injuries were reported.

The City houses some historical data in the upstairs portion of the building. That was destroyed as well.

"It's a real sad loss for the community. That building's over 100 years old. It carries historical significance as well as there are a lot of memories," said Mill City Mayor, Thorin Thacker.

The Linn County Sheriff said a handful of deputies work out of that building. They will now try and find some temporary space in the new City Hall until they can work out a long-term solution.

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