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Pipestone warehouse destroyed in overnight fire

PIPESTONE -- Firefighters battled a blaze at a Pipestone warehouse through Monday night and into Tuesday morning.

The fire, at a warehouse located in an alley between Second and Fourth streets in Pipestone, was reported at 9:25 p.m. Monday, according to Pipestone Fire Chief Corey Popma. He said the building is owned by Ron and Tom Willy.

"It was probably about a third engulfed when we got there," reported Popma. "But it didn't take long for it to be fully engulfed, within 10 minutes. It never really broke through the roof until about an hour after the call. That's when it broke through on the majority of the roof, although it had already broken through on the north end. It had already been rolling a while on the north end."

The fire was contained to the second floor of the structure, according to Popma, thanks to a concrete subfloor or tile that it did not penetrate.

"That was beneficial to us," he said. "There's also a basement that is now filled up with water."

The Pipestone firefighters were on the scene until 5:30 a.m., when Popma sent the majority of them home.

"Me and the assistant chiefs were on the scene still until just now to monitor it," he said at about noon on Tuesday. "I called one truck to come back in at 10:11 this morning, because it had rekindled. We had an excavator come in to clear debris and remove walls that were questionable. I'd hate to have them fall on somebody, and that helped us to fight the fire a little better, too."

The large warehouse only contained a few building materials, Popma noted, such as dimensional lumber and some shingles.

The state fire marshal was on the scene Tuesday morning, but was unable to pinpoint a cause due to the instability of the remaining structure.

"The floor is so questionable that we couldn't walk on it, so we couldn't investigate," Popma said. "There was electricity to the building, so that's a possibility."

In battling the blaze, Popma estimated that they used a little more than 300,000 gallons of water.

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

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