Alton, Iowa– A corn crib, a pickup, a grain bin and a propane tank were destroyed in a fire on Thursday, September 15, 2016 near Alton.
According to Alton Fire Chief Quinton Van Es, about 2:45 p.m., the Alton Fire Department was called to the report of barn fire near the home of Doug Andresen near 430th Street and Kennedy Avenue, two miles north of Alton.
The chief says the fire department saw a burning corn crib, which was nearly burned down as they approached the scene. He says a propane tank next to the corn crib had overheated and blew the relief valve, creating a torch-like effect, shooting flame 20 feet or more into the air. He says the flame from the propane tank destroyed one of two 4000-bushel grain bins next to the corn crib. Inside the corn crib was a Chevy pickup, which the chief says was also totaled. He says they started by cooling the propane tank with water, and also sprayed water the other direction at the corn crib. He says when that fire was under control, they could better address the propane tank situation.
Van Es says no injuries were reported.
The fire department was assisted by the Orange City and Hospers Fire Departments and the Orange City Ambulance crew.
He says they suspect that the cause of the fire was a lightning strike to the corn crib.
Chief Van Es says they used 14,000 gallons of water to fight the fire, and while they had most of the fire knocked down in a half hour, crews were on scene for about two hours.