Large fire at western Minnesota John Deere dealer under control after prompting evacuations
A large fire at a farm implement dealer in western Minnesota on Tuesday night forced people from their homes and closed a state highway for hours.
Lac qui Parle County authorities said the fire at the Midwest Machinery John Deere dealer in Madison, Minn., even ruptured a local gas line, complicating efforts to bring the flames under control.
The fire destroyed the dealership’s offices and shop. No injuries were reported.
The fire was first reported when someone nearby spotted smoke and called 911 at about 7 p.m.
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Local volunteer firefighters immediately summoned help from surrounding communities. In addition to crews from Madison, fire departments that responded included Dawson, Marietta, Montevideo, Ortonville, Bellingham, Appleton, Canby, Nassau, Boyd, Milan and Odessa — along with Big Stone City, Revillo and Milbank from South Dakota.
The fire forced authorities to close Highway 40, the main east-west highway through Madison.
The plume of smoke prompted authorities to evacuate 15 homes and two apartment buildings nearby.
“A reunification center was set up at the Madison Mercantile, a local gathering spot, for evacuees to meet, make lodging plans, and receive updates from friends and family,” Lac qui Parle County Emergency Management officials reported.
Authorities said residents 10 miles north of Madison reported that they could smell the smoke from the fire.
City officials also had to restrict water use in the city to aid firefighting efforts.
As of 2 a.m. Wednesday, the fire was reported to be under control and evacuations were lifted. Fire crews remained on the scene to locate and douse hot spots, and to tear down parts of the building.
The city of Madison continued to request that residents limit water usage to help the water tower refill.