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New fire chief watches family business burn to ground

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Northwood, ND (WDAZ-TV)

A call that hits close to home.

It was this fire chief's first call as leader of the department. 

And he was very familiar with the address.

12 hours after the fire started smoke continued to billow out of Korsmo Brothers Trucking in Northwood as firefighters continued to hose down hot spots.

The new fire chief pulled apart parts of the wall, a wall his dad built with his three brothers back in 1976.

"It probably hasn't totally kicked in yet what is going on," said Northwood fire chief Jason Korsmo.

This is what Jason Korsmo saw as he arrived on his first call as chief around 2:30 Friday morning. A truck driver sleeping in his rig inside the shop woke up to an explosion and ran outside and called for help.

“It happened all pretty fast, coming up to the scene knowing it’s everything you've grown up with and knew. Our main concern is getting the fire out and not letting it spread,” explained Korsmo.

Despite three departments showing up that was an impossible task. A handful of semis and other machinery fueled the raging inferno.

“It spread quickly, there was lots of equipment in there that just made the fire hot and spread throughout,” Korsmo described.  

With the temperature dipping to 25 below  firefighters could only watch....

“We had a couple of pump trucks that went down due to it, filling water, even water on your gloves and running a hose wears on a guy,” mentioned Korsmo.

 Lost was equipment and paperwork that can one day be replaced. But what can't be replaced - decades of family photos and the family's tractor collection.

“Doesn’t look like anything can be saved,” commented Korsmo.

For now a makeshift office has been setup next door. The brothers are looking for some spare semis. Korsmo trucking hauls farm products and oil across the upper Midwest. 

“Other than the trucks that were in there, the trucks are still rolling,” said Korsmo.

 A business that will rise from the ashes.

“Absolutely going to rebuild,” said Korsmo.

It's believed the fire started in the shop part of the building.

The cause is under investigation.