Major Fires

Major Fires
Past Chiefs

Major Fires
As recalled by Former Fire Chief Ken Versaevel

Dec.31, 1984: The Marshall Fire Department, along with Departments from Porter, Madison, Ivanhoe and Hendricks, assisted the Canby Fire Department with a blaze on Main Street in Canby that destroyed three buildings and four businesses causing an estimated $500,000 to $1,000,000 in damages. No one was injured in the fire, but the blaze destroyed the Canby News, P.K. Egan's Restaurant and an adjoining building housing the offices of attorneys John Qualley and Jerry Boulton and optometrist Dr. W. C. Jahn. An estimated 300,000 gallons of water were used in dousing the flames. Firemen weathered the near-zero temperatures for several hours.

January 1985: Firefighters from the Marshall Fire Department assisted the Lynd Fire Department with a blaze at the Louis Taveirne home. The firefighters were called about 6:00 p.m. and baffled the blaze in sub-zero temperatures.

March 1985: The Marshall Fire Department was called to a gas leak at North 5th Street and Mason. A car ramming a house and breaking the gas meter off the gas line caused the gas leak. An explosion occurred after the fire department arrived injuring two firefighters.

July 1985: The Fire Department was called to a house fire at 1103 Columbine Drive. An overheated gas grill on the deck caused the fire. The deck and the side of the house were damaged. Approximately 15 minutes after the fire department arrived at this fire, they were dispatched to a fire at the Eggermont Trailer Court on East College Drive. A trailer house was fully involved when the fire department arrived. One man died in this fire as a result of apparent smoke inhalation. The fire apparently started from careless smoking.

October 1985: The Marshall Fire Department along with Granite Falls, Cottonwood and Wood Lake assisted the Hanley Falls Fire Department with a fire in a corn dryer at the Hanley Falls Co-op Elevator.

December 1985: The Fire Department responded to an explosion and fire at the A&W Restaurant on West Main Street. A gas line ruptured in the street, which allowed gas to leak along the gas line to the building. The gas entered the basement of the building through a crack in the cement block. The debris from the explosion was hanging from the trees and was blown across the street from the force of the explosion.  No one was injured in the explosion. This is normally a bus stop for kindergarten children, but school was cancelled because of a snowstorm the day before. The children are usually waiting for the bus about the time the explosion occurred.

April 1986: The Tracy Fire Department assisted Marshall Fire Department with a barn and granary fire on a farm owned by Herman Westphal. The fire is of suspicious origin.

June 1986: The Marshall, Porter, Ivanhoe, Clarkfield, Montevideo, Dawson, Minneota, Madison, St. Leo, Hendricks, Clear Lake and Gary, South Dakota Fire Departments assisted the Canby Fire Department with a blaze at the Canby Farmer's Grain Company. The 70-foot elevator was destroyed in the fire.

July 1986: The Marshall Fire Department along with other area fire departments assisted Ghent Fire Department with a blaze at the B&H Feed Elevator. The fire was believed to have started from a lightning strike.

August 1986: The Fire Department was called to the Fran Scherer residence at 604 Donita for a house fire. The garage and kitchen were fully involved when the firefighters arrived. The fire may have started from an extension cord or the careless discarding of smoking materials.

January 1987: An apartment in R C Square Apartments received heavy smoke and water damage. The blaze was confined to the two-story apartment. The fire started from children playing with matches.

May 1987: The Fire Department was called to a fire at the Prairie Peddler in the Struthers Arcade Building on North 3rd Street. The fire did moderate damage. The fire resulted from an overheated ballast in a fluorescent light fixture.

January 1988: The Fire Department was called to an explosion at the MCP (Minnesota Corn Processors) plant. There was no fire following the explosion. The explosion caused heavy damage to the building and equipment. There were no injuries to MCP personnel or firefighters.

April 1988: The Fire Department responded to a fire at 420 Legion Field Road. The fire was caused by using a torch to remove paint from the siding of the house.

May 1988: The Fire Department was called to the Gordon Molitor residence at 610 Lawrence for a house fire. The house was fully involved. An overheated power roof vent apparently caused the fire.

July 1988: The Fire Department was called to the Dan Blowers home at 604 Lawrence for a garage and house fire. The garage, which is attached to the house, was fully involved when firefighters arrived. The fire started when gas was being poured from one gas can to another. It is believed static electricity caused a spark, which ignited the gas.

October 1988: The Marshall, Tracy and Cottonwood Fire Departments assisted Milroy Fire Department with a series of fires at the Joe Miller farm. Two fires were started after firefighters arrived at the scene. All the fires were a result of arson.

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