Friday Evening Rock Valley Fire Destroys Shop, Equipment, Car And Motorcycle

An attached shop housing a machining business in Rock Valley was destroyed in a fire Friday evening.

Rock Valley Fire Chief John Wallenburg reports that the fire was at Marv Hoogendorn’s home-based business at 1609 20th Street, where he manufactures motorcycle parts. The building that burned is a shop, which is attached to a garage, which is attached to the house. He reports that the fire did not reach the main garage or house.

The fire department was called out shortly after 7:15 PM. When they arrived, says Wallenburg, the shop was fully engulfed, with fire coming out of one side of the overhead door. He says they attacked the fire with probably 10 to 20 thousand gallons of water.

He says the shop and all its contents, including a car and a motorcycle are a total loss. He says it will be a high damage amount, due to the type and amount of equipment that was kept there. He estimates there was probably over $150,000 in damage.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

Rock Valley firefighters were on-scene for two hours.

Weather Service Cautions: Wildfire Risk High Today, Avoid Use Of Fire If Possible

Very dangerous fire weather conditions are expected Saturday across far southeast South Dakota, northwest Iowa, southwest Minnesota and extreme northeast Nebraska. Strong south to southwest winds combined with dry air across the region will create the potential for rapid fire growth across the region today. As temperatures warm Into the 60s and 70s this afternoon, relative humidities are expected to fall to 15 to 25 percent. This will result in very dangerous fire weather conditions.

A warning for such weather is called a “Red Flag Warning,” and one has been issued for northwest Iowa today. Any fires that do start will spread rapidly due to the dangerous windy and dry conditions, coupled with dormant vegetation.

The grassland fire danger index will also be in the extreme category.

The National Weather Service advises that debris burning is the number one cause of wildfires. We are advised to please be careful with any use of fire, and postpone any use of fire if at all possible.

Sheldon Police Investigate Three Accidents, Make Two Arrests Recently

A Sheldon woman’s PT Cruiser was damaged in an accident on Monday (3/5) in Sheldon.

The Sheldon Police Department reports that about 11:35 AM, 31-year-old Murray Drohman of Sheldon was westbound on Eleventh Street, in a 1963 Ford. Eighty-four-year-old Clarice Kreykes of Sheldon was northbound on Eighth Avenue in a 2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser.

The officer’s report says Kreykes went through the yield sign, not seeing Drohman’s vehicle, and the vehicles collided.

Kreykes’s Chrysler PT Cruiser received $4500 damage. Drohman’s Ford was not damaged.

There were no injuries.

A Sheldon man’s vehicle was damaged in an accident on Wednesday (3/7) in Sheldon.

The Sheldon Police Department reports that about 11:35 AM, 48-year-old Thomas Mook of Sheldon was backing eastbound from a yard in the 800 block of Union Avenue onto the street in a 1999 Nissan pickup. Sixty-eight-year-old Kenneth VerSteeg of Sheldon was southbound on Union Avenue in a 2006 Honda. The pickup struck the car as it was driving by.

VerSteeg’s Honda received $2000 damage. Mook’s Nissan was not damaged.

There were no injuries.

Mook was charged with unsafe backing.

A parked car was damaged in an accident on Thursday (3/8) in Sheldon.

The Sheldon Police Department reports that about 9:15 AM, 68-year-old Robert Geels of Sheldon was backing northbound from a driveway on Seventh Street, in a 2005 Chevy. Sheila Miller’s 1998 Kia was legally-parked on Seventh Street. Geels backed into the parked car.

Miller’s Kia received $1800 damage. Geels’ pickup was not damaged.

He was charged with unsafe backing.

There were no injuries.

The Sheldon Police also apprehended two people recently.

On Thursday (3/8), they stopped 42-year-old Bobby Tankersley for driving while his license was suspended. He was cited and released.

Also on Thursday, they arrested 32-year-old Mark Wenck of Lidderdale, Iowa for Driving While Revoked For OWI. He was taken to the O’Brien County Jail.

Young Adults Charged With Alcohol Offenses Near Ashton

Three young northwest Iowa adults were charged with alcohol offenses after an incident on Sunday.

On Sunday March 4, 2012 an Osceola County deputy checked on a suspicious vehicle parked at an acreage north of Ashton on Nettle Avenue. Arrested in the incident was Heather Kruger, 22, of Little Rock, Devin Maker, 20, of Sibley, and Tyler Bremer, 19, of Ocheyedan. Kruger was charged with Providing Alcohol to Minors, a Serious Misdemeanor, Trespassing, Interference with Official Acts, Domestic Assault, and Open Container, all Simple Misdemeanors. Maker and Bremer were both charged with Interference with Official Acts and Person Under Legal Age. All three were released from the Osceola County after posting bond.

Sioux County Sheriff’s Office Doing School Patrols Again

The Sioux County Sheriff’s Office is conducting another part of their school traffic safety enforcement project on Thursday, March 8.

Deputies are focusing extra enforcement on roads known to have a high amount of school traffic. Deputies will patrol various roads used by students traveling to and from school. They will enforce traffic laws and increase their presence during these busy times.

Over the course of the last several years, the sheriff’s office has concentrated on traffic enforcement in an effort to lower the high number of traffic fatalities and injury accidents throughout Sioux County. This project is a continued effort to keep motorists safe.

The officers plan to conduct school traffic safety focus today on these roads:

*Highway 10 Hawarden to Orange City
*Highway 18 Rock Valley to Sheldon
*Highway 75 from Highway 18 to Sioux Center

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director

Emergency Responders Hear What Worked And What Didn’t In Tornado Response From Joplin EMT’s

Over 100 emergency responders and members of the public were on hand on Wednesday night to hear two Joplin, Missouri emergency responders tell about the Joplin tornado last May.
The meeting was coordinated by the Sheldon Emergency Management Agency in cooperation with Northwest Iowa Community College. The attendees learned valuable information that the Joplin responders learned either because it worked well, or because it didn’t.

Operations manager for Newton County Ambulance Service, Jeff Prosser and operations manager for Metro Emergency Transportation System — or “METS” Ambulance, Darrell Donham talked to the attendees and made suggestions for them to use in a large-scale disaster, such as the need for an operations center, and the need for updated phone records of agencies that can help. They stressed cross-training because, for instance, the fire department’s rescue unit may not be able to respond, so EMT’s may be forced into the search and rescue role.

They also focused on communications, both the technology and just talking to other people doing the same job. As far as radio and telephone communication — in their situation, Donham and Prosser said that cell phones worked for texting only, on a delayed basis and were useless in the first few hours for voice communication. Even their radio system, which worked flawlessly was of limited use because it didn’t operate in the same band or on the same frequencies as other ambulance crews that responded from across the state and even further out.

They also stressed that when making plans, planners should come up with two or three good ideas, because depending on the disaster, some of them may be impossible to implement, due to damage to infrastructure.

They also told attendees that at one time during the tornado response, they had so many calls that people were put on a waiting list. In fact, they stopped transporting patients directly to hospitals and set up several triage areas to determine which patients could be patched up and sent home, which ones required a little more care, and which ones needed transport to a hospital. The situation was made worse, as one of the two major hospitals received a direct hit, and was not only not available for patients, but had to be evacuated.
The EMT’s also stressed documentation of everything. It’s hard to do when it’s one emergency after another, but if you don’t you will never catch up. Plus, hours — even volunteer hours — should be documented so there is a paper trail.
Donham says they have basically one goal by taking their story “on the road”.[audio:|titles=Darrell_Donham1]
Prosser says it gives him a good feeling to be able to share what they learned.[audio:|titles=Jeff_Prosser1]

Prosser says it’s tough to sum up everything they learned, but he was able to tell us one of the most important lessons that they learned.[audio:|titles=Jeff_Prosser2]

The EMT’s also stressed the importance of checking with those involved in a disaster to see what they need, or when would be the best to come. Un-needed supplies become a storage issue, and people who don’t help only get in the way.

By Scott Van Aartsen
News Director