Area departments battle blaze in wintry conditions

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Eleven fire departments fought a fire for more than 6 hours last Thursday, which destroyed a house in Benton Township. No one was injured. (NYA Times staff photo by Adam Gruenewald)

by ADAM GRUENEWALD
NYA Times

Area fire departments battled a house fire in the wind and blowing snow for more than 6 hours last Thursday.
No one was injured in the fire at 11825 County Road 152 in Benton Township, which was called in to the Carver County Sheriff’s Office at 10:02 a.m., according to a press release.
Cologne Assistant Chief Nick Joos was the first on scene, arriving shortly after 10 a.m.
“Basically it was fully engulfed, with the wind from the west fueling the fire and blowing it to the east,” he said. “The wind was pushing it into the house and pushing it around the house.”
Harsh wind made for difficult conditions causing snow drifts as well as access difficulty on County Road 152 and getting resources up the driveway, but the Cologne Fire Department had plenty of help.
The Cologne Fire Department responded with the assistance of the Norwood Young America, Hamburg, Waconia, Carver, Chaska, Victoria, Watertown, St. Boni, Belle Plaine, Plato and New Prague fire departments. Ridgeview Medical Center also responded to the scene.
Joos, who left the scene at about 4:45 p.m., said firefighters worked in shifts of about 15 to 20 minutes, and warmed up in a shed with heaters before another crew was sent in.
“When it’s that cold, guys don’t last that long, but they are ready to go back in,” he said. “It’s the sheer task and trucking all the water from the area.”
NYA Fire Chief Steve ZumBerge added the conditions were difficult.
“The main thing was the wind on the roads and moving tankers on icy roads,” he said. “Other than that, it wasn’t overly cold – just on the yard.”
Carver County Public Works also assisted on scene, clearing snow on 152 and salting roads.
“Usually when we have a call that involves moving some snow, public works has an eye on us,” Joos said. “We have a good relationship with Carver County.”
Joos, the son of Cologne Fire Chief Nick Joos, said he hadn’t seen anything like it.
“First time in my 15 years, and hopefully the last,” he said.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the Cologne Fire Department and State Fire Marshal’s Office.
If you need assistance from police, fire or medical personnel call 9-1-1. Anyone with information related to this incident or any crime is asked to contact the Carver County Sheriff’s Office at 952-361-1212. After hours call 952-361-1231. To remain anonymous you may leave a  message on the tip line at 952-361-1224. You may also use the tip form on the Sheriff’s Office web site at http://www.co.carver.mn.us/county_government/sheriff/crimetip_form.asp.
The homeowners, Jerry and Roxie Christenson, could not be reached for comment, but a benefit has been set up in their name at KleinBank in Cologne.

Contact Adam Gruenewald at adam.gruenewald@ecm-inc.com.

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