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RYEGATE - Residents of Ryegate have limited fire protection after a fire destroyed the fire hall, two trucks and the volunteer fire crew's equipment, Golden Valley Sheriff Floyd Fisher said Monday.

Fisher, who is also Ryegate's fire chief, estimated Friday evening's fire caused between $750,000 and $1 million in damage. The building is insured, he said.

"It was bad," Fisher said. "The firemen that did respond had to try and do stuff without any personal protection gear."

Crews were able to get the pump started on a water tender that was sitting outside the fire hall and pumped water on an adjacent ambulance barn and propane tank.

"All the keys for that truck and the other trucks sitting outside were inside the fire hall that was burning," Fisher said. "There was no way to move any of those vehicles until we had some local people, volunteers that came, hooked chains to the vehicles and yanked them out of the way."

Fisher said the volunteer fire department lost a structure fire truck and a first response truck along with all its firefighting gear and equipment.

"I have borrowed a mini pumper so that we could respond to a structure fire," Fisher said. "However, I don't have enough hose to get to all the structures here in Ryegate because half the town does not have fire hydrants."

He noted a 600-foot fire hose burned in the blaze.

The cause of the blaze remains under investigation, but Fisher said he does not suspect foul play.

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