Blaze claims South St. Shed

By Per Peterson

A shed owned by CHS and its contents were destroyed in a Saturday night blaze.

The Tracy Fire Department was called to an explosion and fire at 7:26 p.m. on Dec. 26 in the area between Twin Circle Apartments and a power station. Tracy firefighters were assisted by those from Garvin, Walnut Grove and Balaton. They fought the fire in the mostly steel building for about three hours.

Inside the shop was a feed truck and skid loader, among other items like tools.

Tracy Fire Chief Dale Johnson III said Monday the cause of the fire was undetermined. The building was razed the following day.

“The pole next to the building is the main feed to the water tower, and with the building being structurally unsound, there was a fear of the building falling on that and knocking power out to the water tower,” said Johnson.

In their battle against the blaze, Johnson said firefighters eventually pulled down wall panels on the north wall, but they couldn’t do that until Xcel Energy cut the power to the building.

“We had to wait, because the power was live and obviously there was lots of water in the area,” said Johnson. “Xcel had to send their crew out of Sioux Falls.”

Johnson said one of the main issues in battling this fire compared to others is the inability to attack the fire on the inside. Firefighters had, for the most part, to fight the blaze from the outside.

“We were trying to remove panels to find the flame — you can spray water in the building, but you can’t flood the building; you need to get the water on the fire,” Johnson said. “Not being able to make entry in the building slows down the amount of time to put the fire out. It was more of a defensive attack. We were doing it from the outside.”

The other issue was the location of the shed — between a major power source and Twin Circle.

“Doing everything from the outside kept from pushing the fire anywhere else,” Johnson said.

See this week’s Headlight Herald for more on this article.