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Three fires in three hours


HARTINGTON  — Cedar County volunteer fire departments were kept busy Tuesday afternoon, responding to three different fires within a three-hour time span.

The first fire call came in at 1:37 p.m. for a grass fire near the Hartington airport.

Twenty-one Hartington firefighters responded to that call, said Fire Chief Mike Jueden. There was no major damage and no mutual aid needed, he said, with the fire starting from an individual grinding on metal that threw a spark.

Firefighters had just returned to the fire hall when the second call came in at 2:50 p.m. — this time for hay bales on fire at a barn north of the Bruce Wiebelhaus farm.

All of the firefighters on the first call went out for this fire, including a few more that responded, Jueden said.

They arrived to a fully-engulfed fire.

“The farmer was working on a flatbed trailer, grinding on that, and some bales on the trailer caught fire and it just spread with the wind,” he said.

About 200 bales were lost along with a round baler and generator. The inside of the barn was completely destroyed as well, Jueden said.

Wynot and Fordyce fire departments were called in to assist, and neighbors brought equipment to help put the fire out, he said.

Another hour later, and another fire call came in —  this time to a field south of Belden.

Firefighters were called out at about 3:45 p.m., and about 40 firefighters were on hand between Belden, Randolph, Laurel and Carroll volunteer fire departments, said Jim Scott, Randolph’s fire chief.

The fire started during the baling of cornstalks at a field farmed by Dave Loberg.

“It was hectic for a while. It was spreading pretty fast,” Scott said, with the windy conditions spreading the fire to a nearby bean field.

The baler was a total loss as a result of the fire, he said.