At Least 16 Fires Were Reported In And Around Our Area On Saturday

Northwest Iowa — Saturday was a busy day for area fire departments. Some counties had almost every fire department out and responding to fire calls.

At least 16 fires were reported in our four-county area. And not only did the wind fan the flames, in at least a couple of cases, the wind was also a contributing CAUSE of the fires.

Probably the biggest fire in the area was a barn fire near Hawarden. Five fire departments responded to the call, which went out about 12:30 p.m., according to Hawarden Fire Chief Duane Schieffen. He says the barn was fully engulfed when they arrived, plus a grove and a field were on fire as well. The cause of the blaze was undetermined. Firefighters from Ireton and Sioux Center in Iowa as well as Hudson and Alcester in South Dakota assisted the Hawarden firefighters. Schieffen says the barn was totaled, but no injuries were reported.

There was also a structure fire near Remsen for which some Sioux County departments provided aid, including Granville, Hospers, and Alton.

Two fire departments fought a fire south of Rock Rapids. Rock Rapids Fire Chief Ed Reck says the fire at 1772 US 75 Avenue involved a truck maintenance shop. Reck says the strong winds had been whipping an electric line from a farm pole against the side of the eave of the metal shed, and it eventually wore through and arced, which started the fire in the rafters. A bunch of stockpiled truck tires and the truck stored in the shed were saved, along with many other shop items, but some were also lost in the blaze, which basically destroyed the building, according to Reck. He says the wind was pushing the fire into the building and it was like trying to put out a fire “in a blast furnace.” He says they used 25,000 gallons of water plus foam to fight the flames and were on the scene for about five hours. No injuries were reported. The Rock Rapids firefighters also fought a grass fire in a creek valley north of Rock Rapids earlier in the day.

The wind also gets the blame for a smaller fire near Sibley. Fire Chief Ken Huls says the wind blew over a dilapidated shed on an unoccupied farmstead, which caused an overhead powerline to arc and that started the grass on fire. The collapsed building was a total loss, but did not catch fire. The fire was limited to a few hundred square feet of grass.

Tree dumps were reported on fire at Hull and Paullina. Firefighters from Hospers, Granville, and Alton responded to a silage pile fire in rural Alton. Maurice and Orange City firefighters were called into Plymouth County for a large field fire. Sutherland and Calumet firefighters assisted Larabee firefighters with a bale fire. Doon firefighters also fought a field fire. Larchwood, Alvord, Inwood, and Lester firefighters fought a hay bale fire east of the West Lyon School, and because both Hawarden and Ireton firefighters were busy, Sioux Center firefighters fought a field fire near Hawarden.


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