Mina elevator burns in blaze

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By Kelda J.L. Pharris


The last fire trucks left the scene this morning after a fire decimated an elevator in Mina Sunday.

The cause of the fire will remain undetermined, said Ipswich Fire Chief Tracy Hutson by phone. There were no injuries.

The Ipswich Volunteer Fire Department was called to the scene at 11:28 a.m.

“There’s no suspicion of foul play so there’ll be no investigation by the fire marshal,” Hutson said. “It wasn’t being used. They do use it in the fall. No, there were no commodities in the building at the time.”

Fire destroyed the main the elevator on the north edge of Mina just south of U.S. Highway 12. Two silos next to it remain standing, but the closest one was exposed to a tremendous amount of heat and Hutson said he doesn’t know how much that damaged its structural integrity.

Strong south-southwest winds of 40 to 45 mph and gusts around 50 mph caused other smaller fires to pop up north of the elevator.

“The wind caused the fires, two or three at least, in the farmyard right next to us, across Highway 12 in a hay field, and then north of the other county road (17),” Hutson said.

The fire also caused damage to a small barn north of the elevator and an adjacent building, Hutson said.

For now the burned rubble that’s left of the elevator continues to smolder, Hutson said. Fire crews will continue to monitor it throughout the day.

Other agencies that assisted with the blaze in Mina were the Aberdeen Rural, Leola, Roscoe and Columbia volunteer fire departments.

Brown County

Multiple grass fires were reported in Brown County Sunday, with no reports of injuries or structure damage, said Scott Meints, Emergency Management director.

• Claremont: At 10:08 a.m. a tree knocked down a power line and started a grass fire at the northwest corner of town. A couple houses were close by but sustained no damage, Meints said. The scene was cleared before 2 p.m. but a flare-up was reported and handled after 2:15 p.m. Responding agencies were the Claremont, Hecla, Groton and Columbia rural fire departments.

• East of Concord Grains: At 11:36 a.m. a small grass fire was reported between U.S. Highway 12 and County Road 12 just west of Aberdeen. Aberdeen Rural responded on its way to Mina, Meints said.

• Tacoma Park: At 1:33 p.m. a grass fire are reported near the intersection of 125th Street and 389th Avenue north of Tacoma Park. According to a Facebook post by the Aberdeen Rural Fire Department, the fire was a flare-up from a controlled burn that might have been started months earlier.

“People seem to forget that this stuff can sit and smolder for month. If you are going to be doing a controlled burn you need to make sure it’s a 100 percent out — double, triple check to make sure,” Meints said.

• Richmond Youth Camp: At 3:57 p.m. a smoldering brush pile was reported from Youth Camp Road. The reporting party asked that a fire tanker douse it to make sure it was out, according to Meints.

Meints said a couple of rural fire departments reported to three or four separate fire calls.

“We had private folks out to Mina hauling water. It’s really great to see when we have an incident how our communities pull together,” Meints said.

Follow @Kelda_aan on Twitter.

The elevator in Mina was damaged in a fire on April 29. Farm Forum photo by Kelda J.L. Pharris
The elevator in Mina was engulfed in flames, spurred by strong winds. The winds caused flames to start bales, grass on fire. Courtesy photo
The elevator in Mina was badly damaged in a fire Sunday. Photo courtesy Lori Salfrank