Orange City, Iowa – Seven fire departments helped put out a cornstalk bale fire in which three thousand large square bales were destroyed on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 near Orange City.
According to Orange City Fire Chief Denny Vander Wel, about 2:30 PM, the Orange City Fire Department was called to the report of a grinder on fire at Robert Wassenaar’s dairy farm at 4280 Jackson Avenue, just north of the Orange City city limits on K64.
The chief says that when they got there, the fire department saw a hay and corn stalk grinder on fire and the silage that was being made on fire as well. That fire spread into the large square bales, he says. According to the chief, they used side dumps and manure spreaders to haul the burning bales out into a field, spread them apart, and doused them with water.
Vander Wel reports that a cow was reportedly lost in the fire, but no injuries to people or pets were reported.
Fire departments from Alton, Hospers, Granville, Boyden, Sioux Center, and Le Mars assisted the Orange City Fire Department. The Orange City and Sioux Center ambulance crews, the Sioux Center Ambulance Rehab trailer, and personnel from the Orange City Utilities, Orange City Police Department, and the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office assisted as well.
He says the cause of the fire appeared to be an issue with the grinder, but it’s not known if it was a malfunction or what happened exactly.
Chief Vander Wel reports that all 3000 bales were lost, but the grinder was salvageable.
He says they used 500,000 to 600,000 gallons of water to fight the fire, and crews were on scene over eight hours — until 10:45 PM.