Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Large structure fire (VIDEO)

**This blog post was updated on Wednesday night with additional information.

An enormous structure fire drew a response from at least six area fire departments tonight. Shortly after 10 p.m., the Brooten Fire Department responded to a fire located about a quarter-mile west of the Pope County Road 22 and Stearns County Road 18 intersections between Brooten and Padua.

The structure, a large pole shed, was on a farm place located due west of the Brian Kollman dairy farm on County Road 18.

More to come in the morning.

*Update: getting the paper done really kicked my butt. Yikes! Old age! I did get a fire photo published on page 12.

The farm site was where Anthony Vait's parents live. Anthony Vait is a 1999 graduate of B-B-E high school and was what I'll call a "super star" athlete with the B-B-E Jaguars wrestling team. He competed in four state tournaments and held the school record for most wins until 2010, when Cole Tensen broke the record in his senior year. He was a key member of the 1996-1997 West Central South championship Jaguar team and the 1997-1998 and 1998-1999 Section 6A runner-up teams.

As I was walking up to the site of the fire, Anthony arrived in his pickup truck and ran ahead of me towards the shed. It was a very difficult sight to see happening to the Vait family, but the major silver lining is that the property loss was limited to the shed plus some farm equipment. No adults, children or animals were harmed. That is great!

The state fire marshal's office had responded by late Wednesday morning to investigate.

Based on what I saw with my own eyes and on what I've heard from others, if the timeline went a slightly different way on when the 911 call was placed for help, the entire farm site could have been wiped out by the fire - including the farm house. There wasn't much of a wind, but there was enough of a wind to move a serious fire around building to building. The large response by area fire departments saved the Vait farm house.

Here's a video clip from early in the battle against the shed fire:

Here's a second video clip that lasted a little over five minutes:

More to come. On Wednesday night, I'm getting the previous blog post updated with basketball scores. Click back and refresh!

More to follow on Thursday. That's it for this blog post.