Typically, the word “explosion” brings to mind images of devastation and chaos. When that word was heard last Tuesday over the Globe newsroom’s police scanner - when news of an explosion at a New Vision Cooperative grain silo in Brewster was initially reported - it was easy for us to fear the worst.
None of us at The Globe had to go fight the fire or offer any kind of assistance typically reserved for emergency personnel. All we had to do was get as thorough a story as we could, which - while important - is nothing when compared to keeping a given area and its people free from danger and offering whatever aid is necessary.
Thankfully, the explosion that took place in the early evening of June 10 resulted in just one injury, a fact Brewster Fire Department 1st Capt. Lyle Oberloh deemed “a miracle.”
Far more, though, happened in Brewster last week. Yes, the lone injury was certainly fortunate, but the teamwork and dedication displayed by so many in the region in fighting the fire was downright inspiring.
The effort to contain the Brewster fire began Monday, when members of the Brewster Fire Department began working virtually around the clock with mutual aid from eight other departments. Their efforts continued through the week when it was discovered the fire had migrated to adjacent bins.
“The majority of our firefighters have been out there for the whole scenario,” Brewster Fire Chief John Garmer said on Thursday. “Everybody’s been dedicated to this. They might slip home for a couple of hours of sleep and come right back.”
Brewster firefighters received mutual aid from the Worthington, Heron Lake, Okabena, Round Lake, Fulda, Wilmont, Bigelow and Lismore fire departments. In addition to manpower, those neighboring departments brought tankers to haul in water so that Brewster’s water tower wouldn’t be run dry.
There was plenty of water - not to mention Gatorade and food - also made available for the firefighters and folks working at the scene, thanks to the generosity of area businesses and individuals.
Clearly, the work to contain the Brewster fire was undertaken by more than a mere few. Volunteer firefighters missed long hours - even days - at their jobs to remain dedicated to the firefight, while their employers found ways to manage in the absence. Countless others from around the region did whatever they could to offer support.
This highly commendable team effort should make us all proud to call southwest Minnesota home.