Laundromat on fire; heavy damage

Firefighters get a change of air bottles after fighting the fire inside the B & J Laundromat on Thursday morning.

NEW ULM — The New Ulm Fire Department responded to a fire Thursday at the B & J Laundromat, 506 Center.

The fire was reported at 6:56 a.m. when someone noticed smoke coming out of the building.

Upon arrival, crews discovered heavy smoke coming from the first and second floors, according to a New Ulm Fire Department report. An occupant in a second-floor apartment at the time of the fire escaped without injury after being alerted by smoke detectors.

Laundromat owners Bruce and Julie Buntjer were at home when they were informed of the fire. It was not known if anyone was in the laundromat at the time of the fire. It is open 24 hours a day.

The fire was under control within 40 minutes. Crews were on the scene for approximately six hours to make sure fire had not spread through the structure, or to adjoining buildings. Smoke spread throughout the downtown area north of Center Street. Smoke had to be ventilated out of the Chamber of Commerce Building, the Jacobs & Meidl music store and the former Furth-Meile office building.

Smoke pours out from the side door and the upstairs apartment windows at the B & J Laundromat on Thursday. A fire that started on the main floor spread to the upper floor, causing considerable fire damage on the first floor and smoke damage throughout the building.

The first floor of the laundromat received heavy fire and smoke damage. There was smoke damage to the second-floor apartments, and adjacent buildings were also ventilated for light smoke.

There was one minor firefighter injury.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation by the New Ulm Fire Department, New Ulm Police Department and the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

The New Ulm Fire Department was assisted by the Courtland Fire Department.

Smoke pours out from the side door and the upstairs apartment windows at the B & J Laundromat on Thursday. A fire that started on the main floor spread to the upper floor, causing considerable fire damage on the first floor and smoke damage throughout the building.

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