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Fire kills 17 sheep, destroys 3 farm buildings in southwest Minnesota

“All the volunteers were great. All the neighbors came over to help or to offer help.”

Fire consumed a barn and two outbuildings Saturday on the Tim Hieronimus farm northeast of Adrian.
Fire consumed a barn and two outbuildings Saturday on the Tim Hieronimus farm northeast of Adrian.
Tim Middagh / The Globe
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ADRIAN, Minn. — A sparking power line may have ignited Saturday’s wind-fueled blaze northeast of Adrian that consumed three farm buildings, killed 17 animals and jumped a property line to burn a neighbor’s property too.

“With that wind, it went so fast it was just crazy,” said landowner Tim Hieronimus. “I think I lost 16 lambs and one ewe that didn’t get out.”

On Saturday afternoon, he was working on putting new carpet in a camper parked about 10 feet from a barn, alongside girlfriend Traci Gyberg. Smelling smoke, Gyberg asked who would be burning on a day with such intense wind.

“I stepped out and I saw sparks coming from the top of my barn,” said Hieronimus, who believes a spark got into the hayloft and started the fire.

Rubble is left behind after fire destroyed three farm buildings Saturday northeast of Adrian.
Rubble remains after fire destroyed three farm buildings Saturday at the Tim Hieronimus farm northeast of Adrian.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

Gyberg called 911. Hieronimus turned the power off and then tried to get in to rescue the lambs, but a wall of thick, heavy smoke drove him back. He was able to rescue two animals from a different area, but the smoke wasn’t the only hazard he — and the firefighters from three different area fire departments who arrived to help — had to deal with.

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“It could’ve been worse. I saw that wind was so strong, as the barn was burning the tin started peeling off the sidewalls and the roof, and that stuff started flying,” Hieronimus said. “The firefighters all had to stay kind of south of the barn so they didn’t get hit by any flying debris from there.”

Adrian Fire Department arrived first, with Rushmore close behind. Lismore Fire Department came to help too, and hearing of the fire, so did other helpers. Two people pulled the camper away from the fire, getting it out of the firefighters’ way; another person ended up getting a speeding ticket hurrying to fetch equipment to help deal with potential electrical complications from the fire.

From the barn, the fire jumped to two other buildings, including a hay shed, which was empty of hay but had a wagon in it. Two tires were burned off, but they were able to get the wagon out.

Chickens work a patch of green in the aftermath of a fire that destroyed a barn and two outbuildings at the Tim Hieronimus farm northeast of Adrian.
Chickens work a patch of green in the aftermath of a fire that destroyed a barn and two outbuildings at the Tim Hieronimus farm northeast of Adrian.
Tim Middagh / The Globe

From there, the fire jumped a quarter of a mile to another property. There, it burned some grassland and hay bales, forcing the firefighters to divide and deal with both fires.

“All the volunteers were great. All the neighbors came over to help or to offer help,” Hieronimus said.

A 1999 graduate of Jackson County Central and a 2003 graduate of Augsburg College, Kari Lucin started writing for newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota in 2006. During her time as a reporter, she covered beats including education, watershed, county and agriculture, and frequently wrote about health and science. She has also served as an online content coordinator and an engagement specialist at various Forum Communications properties. She was a marketing assistant at Iowa Lakes Community College in Estherville for two years, where she did design work in addition to writing and social media management.

Lucin is currently a community editor with the Globe of Worthington.

Email: klucin@dglobe.com
Phone: (507) 376-7319
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