Units from several rural volunteer fire departments responded to a sizable blaze Wednesday morning that heavily damaged a large implement repair shop in Hopkins.
Though left standing, the interior of the red, corrugated metal structure was largely gutted, and firefighters had to tear off a portion of the roof in order to access the flames.
The building, located at south end of First Street — a gravel road running along the west edge of the small, north-county community — is owned by Hopkins resident Lloyd D. Hansen, who has long served as chief of the Hopkins Fire Protection District.
Hansen, who was out of town when the fire was reported around 10:30 a.m., hastily returned to his property and helped firefighters remove welding equipment and other items from the smoldering structure.
The fire was first noticed by Jack Baldwin, a Hopkins municipal employee who was out checking water meters. Baldwin, who also assisted firefighters at the scene, said he noticed smoke and flame coming from the building and called 911.
A brush truck, tanker-pumper and pumper truck arrived moments later from the Hopkins fire station, located only a couple of hundred yards away.
Additional tanker units were dispatched from the nearby Union Township fire station in Pickering and the Sheridan Volunteer Fire Department in Worth County.
Firefighters drew water through their hoses from a large, portable reservoir filled by the tankers. They also connected a hose to a nearby city of Hopkins water main access.
In order to bring fire more quickly under control, a front-loader was used to tear away a section of roof. Two firefighters then used the scoop as an elevated platform from which to direct a stream of water into the heart of the blaze.
The most intense part of the fire appeared to be located just underneath the roof and at the southwest corner of the building, where Hansen said there was a wood-burning stove.
Hansen said the stove was lit Tuesday night and appeared to be functioning normally. He said he returned to the building about 7 a.m. Wednesday and noticed nothing amiss.
It took firefighters less than an hour to bring the fire under control, and units departed the scene around noon.
A Nodaway County ambulance unit was on the scene while the fire was being extinguished, but there were no injuries.
Hansen, now semi-retired, has operated a tractor and farm implement repair business at the location for a number of years.