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Firefighters fight blaze in rural Dundee

DUNDEE — Two barns were a complete loss in a fire in rural Dundee Monday afternoon.

“There were two hog barns that were a complete loss,” said David Baumhoefner, 1st Assistant Chief of the Fulda Fire Department. “They were not being used for anything other than storage. There was equipment in them, but no hogs or anything like that. The one did contain some round hay bales.”

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The Fulda Fire Department was dispatched at approximately 2:45 p.m. Monday to 34700 130th Street. At 3:01 p.m., mutual aid from Brewster was requested.

“When we got there, the two hog barns – one was more of a finisher and the other was a farrowing barn – they were completely engulfed and already collapsed for the most part,” Baumhoefner said. “The third barn was starting, but it was on the southwest corner of this complex, the wind hadn’t pushed it into it yet too far. We were able to knock that down. It had an attic that was burning the rafters and we were able to get guys to partially enter it and we were able to put that out.”

The third barn – which was saved – had some machinery in it, much like the other two.

“I think they said he had a baler in one, I never looked inside very far,” Baumhoefner said. “There was some small equipment in there.”

The fire department was at the fire until 7:19 p.m. Monday.

“I would have to say close to 50,000 gallons (of water) is what we ended up using, somewhere in there,” Baumhoefner said.

Once the initial blaze was extinguished, smoldering areas had to also be neutralized.

“Because it’s a tin structure, that collapses and it just lays down on everything,” Baumhoefner said. “You have to put out embers. There is a lot of labor after one of those goes down.”

In all, Baumhoefner said approximately 25 firefighters helped during the call.

“We had 10 or 12 fighting the majority of the battle,” he said. “Then around 5:30 we had more people getting off from their jobs who were able to come out and relieve us.”

Baumhoefner said he believed the cause was the hay bales in the barn.

“The property owners say there was no power to the building that was on, so the only other possibility was he had some round hay bales he had purchased earlier in the summer,” he said. “We believe it was probably spontaneous combustion of those hay bales. That was the only thing in there that we could see that would have caused the fire.”

Baumhoefner said he has seen that before.

“It happens with hay bales if they are a little wet, after the heat up, they go,” he said. “If they are wet and they rot, they create their own heat. They are wrapped so tight that it’s just like an oven and eventually they start a fire.”

The Nobles County Sheriff’s Department provided traffic control during the call.