Weather Forecast


Vehicle fire almost destroys shop

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MORRIS – Three Stevens County Fire Departments helped save a shop building just outside of Morris on Tuesday morning after a battery cable started a tractor on fire.

At about 7 a.m. on Tuesday, the Morris Fire Department was paged to a shop fire at the residence of Ace Sperr.

When the first engine arrived at the scene, heavy smoke was billowing from each end of the building.

“Morris Fire made a quick offensive fire attack to knock down the main seat of the fire located in the middle of the shop where two tractors, a bobcat and a cattle feeder were stored,” said Morris Fire Chief Dave Dybdal.

Firefighters encountered heavy smoke when they entered the building, but a coordinated effort from an attack team and the use of positive pressure ventilation helped improve visibility. Once one of the tractors was fully engulfed, it started the ceiling and roof on fire from inside the building.

“Most of the structure was saved do to the quick efforts of all personnel,” said Dybdal. “This was kind of a stubborn fire – once the tractor fire was put out we had to deal with not only cold temperatures but also the buildings structure where wood truss members coated with spray foam insulation kept the fire smoldering for an extended amount of time.”

Asphalt shingles under the tin roof also kept the heat trapped, so the department used a ladder truck to get water between the tin and the shingles.

Approximately 20,000 gallons of water were used on the fire. The Donnelly Fire Department and Hancock Fire Department responded to a call for mutual aid and brought water to help fill extra drop tanks.

Early investigation indicates the fire was started when a battery cable shorted out and ignited a tractor in the middle of the building. The investigation determined that the fire had burned for some time, possibly up to four hours. The estimated fire loss was between $35,000 and $40,000, Dybdal reported.

The Stevens County Sheriff’s Office, Stevens County Ambulance and Minnesota State Fire Marshal also responded to the fire.