Corn, grain bin lost in New Year’s fire at Northern Ag Services

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Smoke can be seen rising from a grain bin at Northern Ag Services, outside McGregor, on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1. The fire, which started after a corn dryer malfunctioned, ruined 1,500 bushels of corn at the facility. (Photo by Al Anderson)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

A New Year’s Day grain bin fire at Northern Ag Services, outside McGregor, resulted in the loss of 1,500 bushels of corn.

According to McGregor Fire Chief Dan Bickel, McGregor Hook and Ladder responded to the scene at 7 a.m. with 15 men and five pieces of equipment after a corn dryer malfunctioned, setting fire to an industrial-sized grain bin.

The fire department, assisted by the Monona Volunteer Fire Department, spent five hours on scene. Bickel said firefighters had to saw into the dryer to put the fire out.

The bin had to be unloaded by hand, as corn was shoveled and washed out the back. The bin, dryer and corn were all a total loss.

“It was between two other large bins, so it was difficult to get to because of the location,” Bickel said, noting that a lot of smoke and steam also made it hard to see.

The Clayton County Sheriff’s Office and Mar-Mac Police Department assisted, as well.

The new year brought a flurry of activity for the McGregor Fire Department, as firefighters responded to two other calls within a 24-hour period. Later on Jan. 1, they responded to a power line issue behind Strutt Clinic in McGregor. There was no fire. Around 1:30 a.m. Jan. 2, firefighters were called to the Green Room Spa in McGregor after a toilet line broke and flooded the building, which set off the alarm.

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