Fire engulfs area grain bin

LU VERNE, Iowa - Several fire crews respond overnight to flames bursting through a local grain bin.

The fire broke out around midnight and crews worked for four hours containing the blaze.

“This was part of the building and it was fully engulfed in flames and everything kind of collapsed right in the middle. It came out perfect the way it burned,” said Mike Nilles with the Lu Verne Volunteer Fire Department.

Mike Nilles of the Lu Verne Fire Department is a veteran volunteer firefighter, but even Tuesday night’s grain bin fire was enough to force him to look for help.

“That fire started way before we got called. By the time we got here, there were 50 foot flames coming out of the roof. We realized right away that there was one was no way that we could handle this alone so we got some other fire departments involved,” said Nilles.

More than nine fire companies all across north Iowa provided aid, even though early on, their biggest concern were neighbors nearby.

“As soon as we got here and we knew that we weren’t going to be able to control this and to put that building out. We just went into safe mode and started trying to save all the buildings that we could around it,” said Nilles.

The bins belonging to a branch of company, New Cooperative, were already set for demolition but they say this was not in the works.

“We are not 100 percent sure as to how it started. It appears at this time that the fire was limited to the structures that we have planned on tearing down. We are working with our insurance company to decide exactly what happened and how to proceed from here. We’re so thankful that the fire happened when no one was around and that nobody was hurt,” said Amy Pingel with New Cooperative.

Firefighter Nilles says despite the long night, he couldn’t help but thank those who pitched in.

“That’s the nice things about these small-town volunteer fire departments, they get along great and any time they need assistance,  they’re there,” said Nilles.

While the fire is contained, firefighter Nilles says it could take up to three days before the small flames die out.

The company which was founded in 1973 has several locations including the one in Lu Verne.

Only one of several grain bins on the property was affected.

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