Guardsmen Evacuated After Fort Chaffee Building Catches Fire

Two National Guardsmen who are staying in a supply administration building at Fort Chaffee were evacuated early Friday morning (June 20) after their building caught fire, according to authorities.

Fort Chaffee’s Chief of Operations Commander Lt. Col. Dwight Ikenberry said the guardsmen were asleep inside the building, when another guardsman who was assigned to watch the facility, because of the guns and gear inside, noticed the fire spark.

He was able to wake up the other guardsmen and get them outside safely. He then contacted Fort Chaffee’s public safety officials, who called for back up.

Crews with Fort Chaffee, Fort Smith, and Barling Fire Departments all arrived on scene within minutes, and were able to keep the fire from spreading to any other buildings.

“A fire at Chaffee can get out of control very quickly,” Ikenberry said.

Crews were able to get the fire out within about an hour, according to crews on site. Ikenberry said the fire started inside the back wall of the building, and appeared to be caused by an electrical problem.

The building is a loss, as well as the guns and gear that were stored inside, according to Ikenberry.

“We didn’t lose soldiers. We did lose a 70-year-old building, but at least fire crews were able to keep the fire from spreading to any other buildings,” Ikenberry said.

No injuries were reported.

Crews from OG&E were on scene, and did shut off power to a few of the buildings in the area.

The guardsmen who were inside the building are being located to another building at Fort Chaffee, according to Ikenberry.

Authorities will be back on scene later this morning to figure out just how much equipment was lost in the fire, Ikenberry said.



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