Co-op counts blessings

A large plume of smoke drifted over Hwy. 14 during a fire Sunday at Meadowland Farmers Cooperative, just east of Walnut Grove. There were no injuries.

8 fire departments from four counties respond to hard-to-reach fire in a tunnel underneath storage facility at Meadowland Farmers Cooperative

By Per Peterson

Firefighters from eight towns and four neighboring counties spent most of Sunday fighting a hard-to-reach fire in a conveyor tunnel underneath the flat grain storage facility at Meadowland Farmers Cooperative, just east of Walnut Grove.

From just Tracy alone, 21 firemen played a part in battling the fire – either in Tracy or at Meadowland; Walnut Grove fire department members on site numbered 15.

Fire departments from Lamberton, Garvin, Balaton, Milroy, Dovray and Westbrook also assisted. The Walnut Grove Ambulance, Minnesota State Patrol and Redwood County Sheriff’s Office were also on the scene.

Walnut Grove Fire Chief Andy Foster arrived on the scene shortly after 8 a.m. Sunday, and said the first thing he saw was smoke coming out of the west end of the tunnel. Later, a combination of black, gray and white smoke could be seen coming out of both ends of the tunnel. Tracy and Lamberton fire departments were paged almost immediately.

The tunnel is open on both ends and is 600 feet long.

“We went in on the west side a little ways, then regrouped and I went around to the other end of the building, that’s when we realized what we had,” Foster said.

For more on this article, see this week’s Headlight-Herald.