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Area firefighters quench fire at Walnut Grove grain facility

WALNUT GROVE — Putting out a fire at a grain storage facility in Walnut Grove on Sunday afternoon was an effort that reached across counties. Multiple fire departments responded to the Meadowland Farmers Cooperative for a fire underneath a 500-foot grain building.

Walnut Grove Fire Chief Andy Foster said the fire affected a conveyor system underneath the storage facility, although the cause of the fire is under investigation.

No injuries were reported in the fire, Foster said. As of Sunday night, firefighters were continuing to monitor the facility.

Dave Hemp of the Walnut Grove Fire Department said the location of the fire made it challenging to put out. The conveyor, used to move corn, was in a 10-foot by 10-foot tunnel running underneath the storage facility. For safety, firefighters had limited access to the tunnel, Hemp said. There were also 5 million bushels of grain being stored in the building at the time of the fire.

“We ended up flooding the tunnel,” in order to extinguish the fire, he said.

Because of smoke from the fire, law enforcement also had to control traffic on U.S. Highway 14 near the cooperative, Foster said.

Foster said fire departments from Walnut Grove, Lamberton, Tracy, Garvin, Balaton, Milroy, Dovray, and Westbrook all responded to the fire. Responders also included the Walnut Grove Ambulance, the Minnesota State Patrol and the Redwood County Sheriff’s Office.

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