On Saturday, January 22, law enforcement personnel in Maple Grove, Minnesota, experienced the unfortunate aftermath of a reignited fire inside a county training facility. According to fire department officials, the once smoldering fire caused several hundred thousand dollars in damage to an enclosed shooting range within the Hennepin County Law Enforcement Training Facility used often by police officers to practice marksmanship.
According to the Star Tribune’s report, Fire Chief Scott Anderson confirmed that the fire started in shredded rubber material contained behind targets in the facility’s shooting range. Anderson noted that a bullet hitting a piece of metal may have caused a spark that ignited the thick padding of granular rubber material. Police officers used fire extinguishers to douse the fire, but after some time it reignited and spread into the ceiling ventilation system. Firefighters arrived about 3:00 p.m. to extinguish the fire.
Chief Anderson stated that all of the smoldering rubber was removed by firefighters but because of the toxic smoke, each was required to wear an oxygen mask. Firefighters from across the northwest suburbs responded and took turns in the debris removal which took several hours to complete. No injuries were reported.