Four weekend fires keep area firefighters busy

Four fires reported in rural areas over two days.

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Janice pfeiffer at 31168 Lais Ave., three miles north west of Bigelow reported she had one outbuilding destroyed in Sunday fire. (Tim Middagh/The Globe)

NOBLES COUNTY — Several Nobles County fire departments were called upon to battle blazes over a busy holiday weekend as dry conditions continued to persist in the region.

While Red Flag Warnings were issued at the end of last week, the winds were relatively mild on Saturday and Sunday — helping to keep the fires from causing more destruction.

On Saturday, the Adrian Fire Department was paged at 10:43 a.m. for a report of a building on fire. Assistant Fire Chief Eric Marten said when they arrived on the scene in the 20000 block of Minnesota 91, a machine shed was fully engulfed in flames.

Both the Lismore and Rushmore fire departments were requested to provide mutual aid — both water and manpower.

“They helped us attack the fire before it jumped to a building to the south,” Marten said. The building housed several pieces of equipment, including tractors and lawnmowers, that were destroyed in the blaze. The cause of the fire has not been determined.


Marten said firefighters were on the scene for approximately two hours. He offered his thanks to the other departments for providing mutual aid, and to the public for making sure the family was OK.

A trio of fires were reported on Sunday, with the Round Lake Fire Department dispatched to the 27000 block of Minnesota 264 in rural Worthington for a grove fire. Chief Mike Smith said someone had been burning a bunch of brush and the fire spread to a couple of trees.

“It wasn’t big,” said Smith, who was out of town for Easter. Firefighters were at the scene for a little while to make sure everything was cooled down, he added.

A little more than an hour later, the Bigelow Fire Department was paged to the 31000 block of Lais Avenue for a building and grass fire. The call came in at 11:27 a.m., and by the time firefighters finished their work, one building was destroyed and another damaged, according to Bigelow Fire Chief Steve Hohensee.

“They were going to burn some garbage and then the grass set fire, which went around to the edge of the grove and the east side of the property,” Hohensee said.

After the fire destroyed one building, it headed toward the farm site. A second building caught on fire, and Hohensee said firefighters extinguished that and kept the fire from spreading further.

Both buildings were used for cold storage, and Hohensee said the fire burned the tires off of some old machinery parked on the feeding floors.

Firefighters were on the scene for about an hour and 15 minutes.


“The conditions are ripe (for fires),” Hohensee said. “It just takes a little bit to make something go, and it spreads so fast. We’re fortunate it’s dry enough to get our rigs around, but at the same time we’d just as soon (people) wait until better conditions before burning.”

The Lismore Fire Department received a call for aid at 3:47 p.m. Sunday in the 13000 block of Chaney Avenue. Chief Jim Weidert said a propane tank was blowing out flames, and there was a large area of grass burning when crews pulled into the yard. A granary, located quite a distance away from the tank, was also on fire.

Weidert said firefighters don't know what started the fire. People were home at the time and reported it.

With mutual aid from the Wilmont Fire Department for a tanker, Weidert said firefighters were able to cool the propane tank so they could shut the line off, which ultimately extinguished the fire. Meanwhile, they were able to get the grass fire and granary fire under control. Weidert said they were on the scene for about three hours. No injuries were reported.

Julie Buntjer became editor of The Globe in July 2021, after working as a beat reporter at the Worthington newspaper since December 2003. She has a bachelor's degree in agriculture journalism from South Dakota State University.
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