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April 2014

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Dozens of firefighters battle barn blaze

Multiple fire departments responded to a barn fire on Highway 83 late Sunday, Jan. 20.

Multiple fire departments responded to a barn fire on Highway 83 late Sunday, Jan. 20. Photo by: Submitted photo by Josh Gonda

Responders fight blaze, cold temps

Town of Mukwonago - A barn fire on Sunday, Jan. 20, had firefighters fighting frigid cold temperatures along with the blaze.

According to Deputy Chief Andy Wegner of the Mukwonago Fire Department, the department was clearing the scene of a smoke investigation that turned out to be nothing at a residence on Pleasant Street. The department received a call at about 4:30 p.m. for a barn fire at the King Ranch on Highway 83 just south of I-43.

A passer-by noticed smoke coming from the barn and called the residents, who then reported the fire.

Knowing they were short on personnel, Wegner said they requested help from other departments. Roughly 13 departments sent at least one truck to the scene to assist in establishing a water supply and fighting the blaze. About 60 firefighters turned out to battle the fire. Responding departments included Big Bend, Eagle, East Troy, Troy Center, City of Waukesha, Town of Waukesha, North Prairie, Lake Country, Tichigan, Tess Corners, Vernon and Wales-Genesee. Dousman provided on-call assisted at the station.

There were no injuries involved in the fire, only major damage to the main barn that was primarily being used for storage. The basement of the barn, which was being used as a hobby car shop, had minor smoke damage to the vehicles it contained. An estimated amount of damage was not yet available at press time.

The fire is thought to have originated with a wood-burning stove used to heat the car shop. The stove had a chimney that ran through the barn wall that issuspected to have failed, resulting in the blaze.

Wegner said that there were several challenges in fighting the fire on such a cold night. Between the departments, about 80,000 gallons of water were needed to fight the fire. Because of the weather, the water on the scene quickly turned to ice, and the Village of Mukwonago and Waukesha County had to send in trucks to salt so the scene could remain safe for emergency responders.

During the operation, a power line also dropped, and We Energies was called to respond and secure the scene.

The North Prairie Auxiliary provided food and drink on scene.

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