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Tracy firemen roll out hoses near the CHS feed plant Thursday afternoon.

Faulty-belt sparks
CHS feed mill call
Corn-grinding resumes next morning

Early detection and a prompt response from the Tracy Fire Department may have prevented a major fire at the CHS feed mill in Tracy late Thursday afternoon.

The Tracy Fire Department snuffed out what Fire Chief Dale Johnson described as a small fire in the feed mill’s lower level at about 4:30 p.m.   Upon arrival, a team of four air-tank equipped firemen was sent into the mill’s basement to investigate the heavy smoke seen coming from a corn-grinding area.  Only small quantities of water were needed to extinguish the smoldering fire, which destroyed ten belts.  Otherwise, damage was minimal. The mill was back in operation the next morning.

“It could have been a lot worse,” said CHS manager Bob Anderson, who expressed gratitude to firemen for their quick response.

The Tracy Fire Department’s entire fleet responded to the call.  The Tracy Ambulance Service, three fire trucks, trucks from Walnut Grove, Tracy Police, and a Lyon County Sheriff’s Deputy were also called to the scene.

The smoke was first noticed by CHS feed mill employees, who called in the 911 alarm.  By the time firemen had arrived, an automatic alarm at the mill was also sounding, and CHS staff had shutdown electric power to the mill.

Once the first team of firemen had extinguished the fire, another group of firemen examined machinery in the mill to make sure nothing else had ignited.

A malfunctioning belt is thought to be the cause  of the fire.

Fire Chief Dale Johnson III said that electrical causes have been ruled out.  Bearings also checked out okay.  The chief said that some type of belt failure was the most likely culprit.

Rod Benson, CHS feed mill manager, said that despite the fire, the mill didn’t miss a beat in its production because of the built-in redundancy of its equipment.  The mill typically produces 500 to 700 tons of feed daily.

Tracy firemen were on the scene for about two hours. 


Three Easter egg hunts set for kids

Youngsters have three Easter egg hunts to choose from on Saturday.

The Tracy Kiwanis Club plans their annual hunt at 10 a.m. on the Tracy Elementary School playground. Nearly 1,000 plastic-eggs will be scattered around the playground.

The Friends of Shetek State Park host their Easter egg hunt at 1 p.m. near the Zuya Group Center.   There is no charge, but a vehicle park sticker is required to enter the park.

A hunt at the Tracy Public Library begins at 3 p.m.  Pre-school through first grade students are invited to a 3 to 3:30 p.m. event.  Second and third graders are welcome for a 3:30 to 4 p.m. event.