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Blaze destroys maintenance shed

2 plow trucks, 7 pickups lost in Sunday fire; no injuries reported

— Daily Freeman-Journal photos by Juan Trujillo Fire trucks and crews are silhouetted by the huge fire that destroyed the Hamilton County maintenance shed at 1605 Second St. early Sunday morning. Two plow trucks and seven pickup trucks were lost in the blaze. Crews were able to safely move other equipment to another storage building, according to County Engineer Nicole Stinn.

An early Sunday morning fire in Webster City destroyed a Hamilton County maintenance shed and several plows and trucks housed inside.

Webster City firefighters were called to 1605 Second St. at 5:19 a.m. after the fire and several explosions were reported. The fire crew found the brick structure fully engulfed in flames upon arrival.

Fire Chief Chuck Stansfield said crews were able to stop the fire from moving east where additional equipment could have been damaged.

Captain Andy Sowle said that as the walls of the building collapsed, a gas line broke as did a water main. Black Hills Energy and city utility personnel were also called in, he said.

Nicole Stinn, Hamilton County engineer, was on at the scene Sunday morning to assess the damage to the the building and equipment.

“Right now, we lost about a third of the shed, for sure. We’re pretty sure the heating system and water systems are gone,” she said.

“We lost two plow trucks, seven pickup trucks, a plow and some miscellaneous other equipment. We got a good bulk of the equipment out of the other part of the building and moved it to another shed.

She estimated that loss of the plow trucks would total about $200,000 each, while the pickup trucks were worth about $30,000 each.

“We’re still assessing the damage,” she said.

Sowle said 22 Webster City firefighters helped battle the blaze, with mutual aid provided by Duncombe, Stanhope and Woolstock fire departments.

The cause of the fire is unknown at this time and the state fire marshall has been called in to investigate, according to Sowle.

Though the weather forecast has no snow predicted until after Christmas, Stinn said if there should be a snow event, her crews would still be able to clear the county’s roadways.

“If we have to, we can start a few of the guys a little earlier and some may have to make some bigger rounds,” she said.

“We generally do have a spare truck or two. So we’ll be able to pull equipment together to get everything covered if we do have some weather happening,” she said, adding that motor graders could be pulled in to handle the paved roads.

“It just might be a hair slower than normal,” she said.

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