Sibley, Iowa — A 5th Wheel camper was destroyed and the machine shed in which it was stored was damaged beyond repair in a fire late Friday morning at a farm west-southwest of Sibley.
According to Sibley Fire Chief Ken Huls, his department was called to a report of smoke coming from a machine shed on a farm about 4-1/2 miles west-southwest of Sibley’s southern edge. Huls says as firefighters were leaving Sibley to respond to the call they could see heavy smoke in the distance.
When Sibley firefighters arrived on scene, the Chief says they witnessed a great deal of smoke pouring from under the eaves and from the vents of a machine shed on the property, which is located at 1871 Monroe Avenue. Huls says they called for mutual aid from the Ashton and Little Rock Fire Departments, then breached the machine shed’s doors and discovered the epicenter of the blaze to be in a 5th wheel camper that was parked inside the building. According to the Chief, the blaze had begun in the camper, then after burning through the camper’s roof, ignited the rafters of the machine shed, casing approximately 75% of the rafters to be destroyed or heavily damaged.
Chief Huls tells KIWA that the camper had been plugged into a converter which, he says, apparently malfunctioned causing the fire.
Huls reports that the camper and its contents of personal items, was destroyed, causing approximately $30,000 in damage. He says the machine shed itself was severely damaged to the tune of about $75,000 and is not salvageable. In addition to the 5th wheel camper, the shed also contained two vehicles and a small tractor, which all sustained heat and smoke damage. He estimates damage to the contents of the shed, other than the camper, to be about $50,000.
Ten Sibley firefighters, five firemen from Ashton and fourteen from Little Rock battled the fire for about 2-1/2 hours, dumping about 12,000 gallons of water and foam on the blaze in the process.
Sibley firefighters had no sooner arrived back at the fire station than they were called about what Huls termed a “rekindle” in one of the building’s rafters. He says one Sibley fire truck and crew was dispatched back to the scene, but discovered a glowing rafter, but no fire.
Photo courtesy of the Sibley Fire Department