A massive fire ravaged a Dubuque business Thursday morning, despite a 10-hour battle involving more than two dozen firefighters and emergency personnel.
No injuries were reported, and the cause hasn’t been determined. While final calculations still are underway, local officials expect more than $1 million worth of damage occurred to the structure and the equipment within.
Dubuque Fire Chief Rick Steines said firefighters were engaged in “a defensive operation from the start” after encountering “heavy fire” at Link Hydraulic, 180 Westside Court, just off Dodge Street west of Old Highway Road.
“The (call) came in at 4:09 (Thursday) morning,” he said. “It was called in by a passerby who saw the building on fire.”
Attempts to reach Andy Link, listed online as the business’ owner, were unsuccessful. But Mark Arthofer, owner of neighboring Skyline Construction at 165 Westside Court, said Link is “distraught.”
“He’s a good, young businessman,” Arthofer said. “A young guy like that doesn’t need something like this.”
A LONG FIGHT
Crews from the Asbury, Centralia-Peosta and Dubuque fire departments responded to the blaze. More than two dozen firefighters fought the fire, and the scene remained active for about 10 hours, Steines said. Low temperatures and slick conditions also challenged fire crews.
Even after more firefighters cleared the area at about 2 p.m., some remained to keep an eye on hot spots.
“There are parts of the building where the roof is down, where some smoldering is probably going on yet,” Steines said Thursday.
Steines said additional Dubuque firefighters were called in to staff the city’s fire stations while crews battled the blaze.
“It is staffing-intensive,” he said. “It took a lot of people to get the lines in place and to get set up.”
Fighting the fire also required additional water. While the department doesn’t track exact water usage, Steines estimated more than 100,000 gallons were dumped on the blaze.
“We did do mutual aid for tanker shuttle — Asbury and Centralia fire departments – because we have one hydrant down in the court here and we wanted to have more water,” he said. “We (had) two aerial devices going, so it takes a lot of gallons per minute.”
Link Hydraulic Repair & Truck Equipment was founded in 1992 by Bob Link, according to the company’s website.
The business has 10 employees in a 13,000-square-foot facility on three acres. It specializes “in the repair and replacement of all hydraulic components, including cylinders, pumps and hydrostatic units.”
The building is a total loss, Steines said. Online property records value the structures at the site at about $415,000.
“We don’t know at this point what the cause might be,” he said.
Assistant Fire Marshal Mike McMahon said the nature of the structure posed a challenge to firefighters.
“Any time you’re dealing with an industrial, commercial property like this where there are vehicles stored, there’s a fuel load,” he said.
ROAD TO RECOVERY
Greater Dubuque Development Corp. officials planned to reach out to Link’s owners to determine what, if any, assistance could be provided to the company.
“We will see if there’s anything we can do,” said GDDC CEO Rick Dickinson. “It’s tragic when something like this happens.”
He said insurance usually kicks in under circumstances like a business fire. Other assistance also might be available, including from the Small Business Administration. Loans often can act as bridge funding for businesses as they rebuild.
“Every case is unique,” Dickinson said.