Sibley, Iowa — Fire departments from three area communities spent several hours battling a blaze in a dryer at the Iowa Drying plant in Sibley Monday night.
Sibley Fire Chief Ken Huls tells KIWA that an Iowa Drying employee called 911 to report the fire shortly after 8:00 Monday evening.
Huls says smoke was visible, coming from the roof area on the southeast side of the building when firefighters arrived. Upon arrival he says they made contact with an employee who told them the fire was in a dryer that was being used to dry egg yolk. Huls says the employee told him that they had turned the dryer off about an hour earlier, and the dryer’s temperature gauge showed 450 degrees at that time. He says they went back to check on it an hour later, and the temperature gauge still indicated 450 degrees. When the employee opened the dryer to see why the temperature hadn’t decreased, he discovered flames inside the unit.
Huls says the dryer dries liquid egg yolk, with suction drawing the resultant powder into a cloth tube, moving it to another area. He says some of the dust-like powder falls onto the floor of the drying bin, and gets baked from the dryer’s heat. Huls says it was this old yolk material that ignited Monday night, with the suction from the cloth tube drawing the blaze into the vent system and igniting the building’s roof.
Huls says luck was on their side, however, as some of his firefighters were former employees who had worked in the plant and knew the building’s layout. He says they also had the good fortune that the Ashton Fire Department, who they had called early on for mutual aid, had been conducting a training session at the Ashton pit, and had all their personnel and equipment out and ready to go, which allowed them to be in Sibley in record time. In addition, he says the Sheldon Fire Department had been given a heads-up by phone that they might be needed, so when they were requested to bring their aerial ladder truck and pumper truck to Sibley they were set and ready to roll.
Huls says attacking the fire from the interior of the building required approximately 500 linear feet of hose, since they had to take it through various rooms in the building, then up the stairs, to be able to attack the blaze. He says Sheldon’s aerial ladder was a godsend in allowing them to battle the flames from above.
Firefighters had the fire under control after about three hours, according to Huls, with 33 firefighters pouring close to 150,000 gallons of water onto the flames.
Huls says damage to the structure and equipment is estimated between $2.5 and $3-million.
Chief Huls said his department is greatly appreciative of the efforts of the Ashton and Sheldon Fire Departments, saying, “We couldn’t have done it with out them.”
A few images may be seen below.
Photo submitted by listener……..
Photos courtesy of Scott Gaarder…………
Original post 9:45pm, July 27, 2020
Sibley, Iowa — Sibley firefighters were called to a structure fire at the blood plant in Sibley around 8:00 pm Monday evening.
Shortly thereafter Sibley called for mutual aid assistance from the Ashton Fire Department, and requested the aerial ladder truck from the Sheldon Fire Department.
We’ll bring you more information when it becomes available.