Farm blaze, no injuries
The Buena Vista County Sheriff's Department cites smoldering sparks as the cause of a fire that left two buildings at a rural Storm Lake residence in ruins Friday night. Barking dogs are credited for alerting the family to call for help in what could have been an explosively dangerous situation.
Fire Departments from Storm Lake, Newell, Alta and Truesdale responded to an emergency call at 6 p.m. Friday from the David and Norma Williams residence, 1335 610th St. Arriving first at the scene, the Newell Fire Department found a machine shed and an adjacent garage on the west side of the property fully engulfed in flames. Emergency personnel battled the fire with assistance from neighboring farmers and a truck from First Cooperatives of Alta, who provided water tanks. At 8:30 p.m., the fire was completely extinguished, and the scene was cleared at 9:30. No injuries were reported.
Aside from the damage to the buildings, numerous pieces of machinery inside were also lost in the fire.
Newell Fire Chief Bruce Erie said that, despite the heavy damage, the scene had the potential to become much worse, as gas, diesel and propane tanks were located near the buildings where the fire broke out.
"It was getting dangerous there for awhile," Erie said. "Two barrels of fuel were directly in the line of fire between the two buildings. We're very lucky they didn't explode."
Deputy Gary Launderville said that after investigation, it was determined that the fire was caused from sparks emitted from sharpening blades on a chopper. Upon sharpening the blades in the shed, David Williams, a farmer, went into the fields while the sparks smoldered. A family member who was home at the time later heard dogs barking and discovered the fire, then called 911.
Fire departments at the scene were assisted by the Buena Vista County Sheriff's Department and Volunteer Sheriff's Reserves.