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A fast-moving fire gutted a downtown furniture factory Thursday and forced area residents into their homes to avoid thick smoke and paint fumes.

Deputy Fire Chief Mike Mathieu said the fire broke out at C.C. Manufacturing Co. about 2:30 p.m. when an exhaust fan apparently overheated.One worker attempted to put the fire out with an extinguisher, but flames ignited paint and lacquer fumes in the paint booth where the fan malfunctioned, Mathieu said.

"The fire consumed the whole manufacturing facility," he said. "Luckily, the workers got themselves out and there were no significant injuries."

One firefighter was treated for smoke inhalation and released from McKay-Dee Hospital, and another was treated for muscle cramps.

A strong wind forced smoke from the fire toward area homes, whose residents were told to stay indoors. Fire officials also briefly closed 20th Street because of low visibility.

Twenty-six firefighters originally were dispatched to the blaze. Mathieu said crews would remain on the scene through the night.

Mathieu said no damage estimate was immediately available.