Earlville Fire Takes Local Workshop and Goat

Billows of smoke rose thickly from the tree-lined shoulder of State Highway 12B North on Tuesday October 14, obscuring the midday sky. A storage barn equipped with a small woodworking shop had caught on fire, and 11 fire trucks and emergency vehicles swarmed the building in an attempt to control any spread of the flames. By the day’s end the fire had rekindled once, the structure had burnt to the ground and one goat had perished.

The storage barn was located on pri-vate property next to a farmhouse resi-dence. It stood at address 731 on State Highway 12B North, facing Von Banks Collision & Service Center. Though workers at Von Banks witnessed the day’s commotion, details of the fire itself were not clear from across the way. Firefight-ers on the scene, however, concluded that this was an electrical fire.

“The fire started in a storage shed that had a woodworking shop in it. We think … an electrical problem started the fire,” Sherburne Fire Chief Vern Palmiter said.

Chief Palmiter’s Sherburne station was one of three called in for extra support. Though the Earlville Fire Department responded to the fire initially, they received mutual aid from Hamilton, Sherburne and Smyrna. According to Palmiter, this is a normal response for a fire of comparable magnitude.

“A fire this size doesn’t happen too often in this area, maybe one every couple of months,” Palmiter said. “In this case, the building was a total loss, but there was no surrounding damage, and nobody [was killed or injured].”

Tim Huff, the Earlville Fire Chief, remained upbeat even after the long and trying day.

“We received the initial call about the fire shortly after noon,” Huff said. “It was reported by a neighbor to the 911 center. With the mu-tual aid, there were a total of 11 fire trucks on the scene and about 25 firefighters.”

According to Huff, structural fires like this one occur about three or four times a year. In these situations, it is relatively common for the fire to rekindle later on, as this one did.

“The fire restarted later this afternoon. The owner was home the second time around, he was the one that called in the rekindle at 4:10 p.m. … Rekindles are caused by hot spots that we can’t get at when we’re initially putting out the fire. In this case, it was a hot spot deep in some hay, and it caught the hay back on fire. For the rekindle, we responded ourselves and called in a tanker from Sherburne.

“After both fires, the structural damage was restricted to the barn, but the building was completely burnt to the ground. We also sustained the loss of one goat,” Huff said.

Contact Rebekah Ward at [email protected]..