Fire consumes south downtown building

A major fire this morning destroyed a large commercial building in south downtown Grand Junction and shut down several streets in the area.

The fire broke out around 4:30 a.m. at Bestway Services, 735 Fourth Ave., a company that offers drain service, septic tank pumping and portable toilet service, said Mike Page, spokesman for the Grand Junction Fire Department.

“It was pretty much fully involved when (firefighters) got there,” he said. “They went quickly to a defensive mode because there wasn’t much to save at that point.”

Firefighters used a ladder truck to pour water on the fire for several hours and brought in a sand truck because the water was turning to ice. Crews from Xcel Energy responded because power lines came down in front of the building, Page said.

Bestway Services’  owners estimate they lost 200 portable toilets, three service trucks, one service van and a 3,000-gallon pumping truck to the fire. A Terralift, which is a piece of machinery valued at $60,000 and designed to repair leach fields, was also burned in the fire, owners said.

“We’re lucky it didn’t affect anybody else other than it did,” said Chris Boss, who is an owner of Bestway along with Ken Powell. A next-door building is operated by Orkin, a company which kills pests with chemicals.

The men purchased the company in August 2004. Bestway, which they said is the largest toilet provider in the Grand Valley, has been in business since the early 1970s. It provides services to the areas’ festivals and other events.

Powell and Boss were leasing about half of the building’s 12,000-square-foot space from building owners Dusty Rummel, Marc Henessee and Joe Luff.

Bestway owners said they will continue to operate the business, though they will have to seek a new space.

Rummel, who owns Rummel Electric Inc., said the building’s electrical wiring was updated in 1992, the year he and his partners purchased it.

The building had been for sale and the building’s half not used by Bestway was up for lease. Business owners said if the building was sold they would have been able to stay in the building under conditions of the sale.

“We had people next week to look at it,” Henessee said.

The business owners and the building’s owners were on site early Monday morning watching firefighters knock down the blaze.

“You never think it’s going to happen to you,” Rummel added.

No injuries were reported. Page said it may take weeks for investigators to determine a cause.

Check back with GJSentinel.com later today for updates or read the full story in Tuesday’s Daily Sentinel.



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