Fire at Big Sky Linen and Uniform

The Billings Fire Department responds to a fire inside Big Sky Linen and Uniform, 715 Central Ave., on Thursday night.

Gazette Staff

A sprinkler system helped extinguish a fire at Big Sky Linen, 715 Central Ave., after laundry spontaneously combusted on Thursday evening.

Billings Fire Department Battalion Chief Boyd Vopel said the fire appeared to be mostly contained to three clothes bins inside Big Sky Linen and Uniform.

The fire was started by spontaneous combustion due to rags and clothing in a laundry basket, Deputy Fire Marshal Jeff McCullough said in a news release.

Vopel said when firefighters got to the business at about 7 p.m., they saw flames through the front windows.

“They were thinking it was going to be something real substantial,” he said. “Fortunately … the sprinkler system put most of the fire out.”

The fire caused minimal damage to the building and moderate smoke damage to the clothing, McCullough said. Property damage is estimated at $20,000.

Four fire engines and a ladder truck responded with the battalion chief to the fire.

The Billings Police Department also responded and helped with traffic control.

Central Avenue was closed off between Seventh and Eighth Street West for about an hour.

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City news reporter for the Billings Gazette