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Four departments respond to barn fire near Lehigh

By Staff | Jun 9, 2016

In minutes, fire from a nearby building spread to the shingles on the roof of a corn crib near Lehigh Thursday.

LEHIGH – No cause has been reported for a fire that destroyed a corn crib and storage shed near Lehigh Thursday afternoon.

The blaze began in a storage shed about the size of a two-car garage and quickly spread to the adjoining crib, said Callender Fire Chief Kevin Kruse.

Fire departments were called at about 12:30 p.m.

“The small shed here started on fire,” Kruse said. “The employees working in the main shed heard a pop.”

When they looked out, they saw the smaller building on fire, which quickly spread to the larger structure.

The buildings, at 2216 290th St., belong to Al Price, Kruse said.

Callender arrived on the scene first, Kruse said, with Gowrie, Lehigh and Otho also responding.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation, said Jeff Heun, Lehigh Fire Chief.

Heun said Callender was actually paged first, and Kruse then paged out the Lehigh Fire Department, even though the fire was in Lehigh’s district.

This happens sometimes, he said.

“I wanted to give a special thanks to the Callender Fire Department, and to the Gowrie Fire Department and the Otho Fire Department,” Heun said. “Everybody works together.”

The two structures burned to the ground.

“There wasn’t much we could do,” Kruse said. “We just went into defensive mode.”

The house on the property and the newer building where the employees were working were untouched.

The destroyed crib looked to be about 60 years old, said Andrew Peterson, who tears down old buildings and builds furniture from the old wood.

Peterson’s home and his shop, Creations of the Heartland, are just a couple miles east. He was one of the first people on the scene.

“I got here just as the roof of the corn crib was going up,” Peterson said. “The first building was still standing.”

The building collapsed only a couple minutes later.

He drove over to make sure no one was hurt.

“I saw the smoke and I knew that was way too big for a bonfire,” Peterson said. “Then it started turning black, and I thought the house was on fire.

“Those emergency personnel are good, but they can’t beat a neighbor,” he added. “But they got here right quick.”

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