Rural Dunn County blaze extinguished; Fireworks suspected in Dickinson firesRURAL DUNN COUNTY — No one was injured in a prairie fire started by errant burning garbage Thursday, thanks to the quick thinking of a teenage babysitter.
By: Katherine Grandstrand, The Dickinson Press
RURAL DUNN COUNTY — No one was injured in a prairie fire started by errant burning garbage Thursday, thanks to the quick thinking of a teenage babysitter.
The Gladstone Fire Department extinguished blazes on a rural Dunn County farm near Hirschville, or 26 miles northeast of Dickinson.
GFD received the call at about 1:15 p.m. to put out the fire on the property Mark Thomas has lived on for 10 years, Fire Chief Joe Wanner said.
Thomas’ 15-year-old daughter, Rose, was at home with two younger children when the fire started. She got the children and four dogs to safety, he said. The fire department showed up before Thomas and his wife returned to the farmstead. He was thankful for the department’s quick response, “especially considering we live in the middle of nowhere,” he said.
The Thomases lost a barn, truck and chicken coop in the fire, along with some junk cars and 10 to 15 acres of prairie. Their house was OK.
Water trucks from Dunn County and MBI Energy Services also responded to the scene, Wanner said.
GFD had the fire contained by 2:30 p.m., and by 4 p.m. Wanner thought crews would be there until 8 p.m.
“Unless we get some help from Mother Nature with some rain,” he said. “I just felt a sprinkle, maybe we’ll get some luck.”
There were no animals in the barn or chicken coop, which had been used by two of his sons as a play house, Thomas said.
“It didn’t even hurt my trees,” Thomas said while looking on from a distance, but Wanner had a different opinion from closer up.
“Their trees took quite a hit,” he said. “Their shelter belt is going to absorb some damage. You can’t see it yet, but it will.”
Thomas thought he and his family would stay with friends Thursday night in case any hotspots flared back up.
Wanner urged everyone to check the fire index or contact emergency managers if there are any questions about burning.
“This one here really didn’t need to happen,” he said, adding Dunn County had a burn ban in effect.
In other fire news
In Dickinson it was fireworks that either caused or were suspected of causing a few minor fires over the Independence Day holiday, Dickinson Fire Department Fire Engineer Hilary Hartman said.
At about 12:10 a.m. Thursday, DFD responded to a fire at the Century Apartments parking lot that was possibly caused by fireworks, Hartman said.
A witness at the apartments noticed an unidentified vehicle drive up to a trash bin and throw an unidentified object in, Dickinson Police Department Capt. David Wilkie said.
The fire damaged a steel trash bin, but no injuries or major damage was reported, he said, adding the trash receptacle will need new lids, which melted, and possibly a paint job.
Bauer Property Management, the company that runs Century Apartments, was closed Thursday and The Press was asked to call back today for comment.
DFD responded to two other fires over the holiday, Hartman said. The first, at Heartland Village, was called in at 2:09 a.m. Wednesday.
A person threw used firework shells into a plastic trash bin which then caught on fire, he said.
The third fire was called in to DFD at 1:05 a.m. Thursday, Hartman said.
Fireworks ignited a nearby shed that was filled with four-by-fours and other wood, he said, adding the neighbors had the fire put out with a garden hose before the DFD arrived.
“Watch the fire index to make sure they’re not shooting them off when the fire index is high or very high,” Hartman said when asked if he had any advice for those taking advantage of Thursday being the last day to purchase fireworks.