Several fire departments battle shed blaze | Jefferson County Area

RICHWOOD — No one was hurt, but firefighters from several communities battled a farm’s shed fire, which sent thick plumes of smoke into the air Thursday afternoon.

Watertown Deputy Fire Chief Tony Rauterberg said the cause of the blaze remains unknown, but said it caused $165,000 in damages.

Travis Smith, who owns the farm property at W7669 Highway Q in Richwood, said he wasn’t onsite when the fire started.

“We were down at the home farm and the guy that lives here called me and said he smelled smoke so I came up here right away,” Smith said. “There was smoke coming out of the west side of the shed.”

Smith said 500 bales of hay were destroyed in the fire. He said 80 large square bales of soybean were also lost.

“We had enough of that stubble to get us to fall,” Smith said. “We use it for bedding.”

Smith said he was lucky the area received some rain before the fire occurred.

“The way the wind was going we were afraid…,” he paused looking at the rubble, “if we didn’t get this rain I think it would’ve cleared this whole area up here.”

Rauterberg said the 40-by-100-shed, which held the hay and soybean bales, was a total loss.

“Upon arrival, there was heavy smoke and the shed was fully involved all the way through the structure,” he said. “The firefighters got the lines off the trucks quickly and it proved really beneficial.”

A backhoe was used to pull the shed’s contents apart so firefighters could knock down any potential hotspots.

Rauterberg said crews immediately called for mutual aid, which brought fire departments from Ashippun, Clyman, Hustisford, Ixonia, Johnson Creek, Juneau, Lake Mills, Lebanon, Lowell, Sullivan, Waterloo and Western Lakes Fire District. Lake Mills and Juneau provided ambulance crews at the scene.

Jefferson provided a backup engine and Marshall had a tender at the Watertown Fire Station; and Western Lakes had an ambulance there, too.

“It took some time to get water to the scene, but I think the firefighters did a good job in limiting that amount of time and getting the water to the engines,” he said. “It was windy, but the crews were able to handle it and get the water where it was needed.”

Rauterberg said there were no injuries to firefighters, residents or farm animals.

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