Northwest Iowa Fire Departments Fight Wind-Stoked Fires

Northwest Iowa — Several fire departments were kept busy over the weekend in northwest Iowa. Fire calls were reported in Orange City’s, Inwood’s, and Rock Rapids’s fire districts.

The most major call was a re-call from Thursday in which a corn stover pile was damaged.

According to Inwood Fire Chief Troy Van Beek, at about 11:20 a.m. on Sunday, the Inwood Fire Department was called to the report of a corn stalk pile fire at 2277 Coolidge Avenue, a mile north, two east, and a half north of Inwood.

The chief says the fire department saw smoke and flames as they approached the scene. He says they used water to fight the fire. Van Beek says no injuries were reported. The fire department was assisted by the Alvord and Larchwood fire departments.

He says the fire was caused by the strong wind on Sunday stoking embers from the previous fire there on Thursday.

Chief Van Beek reports that there was more damage to the stover pile, plus another pile burned, as did part of the grove. He says the firefighters who responded were on the scene for two hours.

The situation was similar near Orange City on Sunday night. Orange City Fire Chief Denny Vanderwel reports that their fire department was called out to 4187 Jackson Avenue for a tree pile fire at 10:44 Sunday night.

He says they had been burning in a burning pit on Friday or Saturday and had placed some more trees in the pit afterward. He says with Sunday’s strong wind, the embers lit up again and started the new trees on fire, which would have been fine had someone been around to watch it, but since it was late at night and the fire was unattended, they tried to put it out. Vanderwel says since it was old logs, it wasn’t easy to make sure that it was completely out. He says they were there for an hour or so.

Just into Sunday morning — at midnight — the Rock Rapids Fire Department was called to the 1600 block of Indian Avenue, about three miles east of Rock Rapids. Rock Rapids Fire Chief Ed Reck says it was a small fire. He says while there were other intentional fires in the area earlier in the day, the cause of this fire is under investigation. He says it was in the ditch on the west side of the road, and that law enforcement had spoken to someone on the scene before they arrived. He says they were there for only a few minutes.

At last report, our call to Lyon County Sheriff Stewart Vander Stoep about the fire had not been returned.


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