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Removing corn from the fire-damaged bin was a long and tedious process.

Firemen contain bin blaze

An early Monday morning fire did heavy damage to a 10,000 bushel grain bin at the Swede and Norma Campbell farm.

The Tracy Fire Department arrived on the scene at about 3:30 a.m., kept the blaze from spreading to two nearby bins, and salvaged about 5,000 bushels of corn.

“We have a heck-of-a-fire department,” Swede Campbell said Tuesday.  “They came in and worked their tails off and laid it on the line. I can’t say nothing but good things about those guys.”

Campbell said that the bin fire was discovered after his son, John, woke up and smelled smoke at his farmstead about a quarter mile away.  When firemen arrived at about 3:30 a.m., Campbell said the bin was “totally involved” in flames.

The Shetek Township farmer, who lives five miles south and two miles east of Tracy, said that the bin was filled with about 8,000 bushels.  Firemen were able to save all but 2,500 to 3,000 bushels of corn, he said.

A broken sweep on the bottom of the bin, which caused corn to stop circulating in a dryer, is thought to be the cause of the fire.

Tracy Fire Chief Dale Johnson III said that 24 Tracy firemen and six trucks were involved in the fire call.  Tankers hauled water to the fire, with 27,000 gallons used to extinguish the fire.

The chief said that once the bin fire was initially knocked down, it was a long, and time consuming process to remove good grain, and get at and douse hot spots.  Three to five-member teams of firemen with air packs rotated in and out of the bin.

The Walnut Grove Fire Department was called out initially on a mutual aid request from Tracy.  Walnut Grove firemen were sent home after about an hour, after the fire had been brought under control. Walnut Grove firefighters returned to help early Monday afternoon, because of the length of time some Tracy firemen had been working in heavy suits and air packs.

The last firemen left the scene at about 2:45 p.m. Monday.


Voters have their say Tuesday

Area voters will join citizens from across the U.S. in voting for national, state, county, and local representatives in the Tuesday, Nov. 4 general election.

Polls in Tracy, Balaton, Garvin, Currie, and Walnut Grove will be open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.  Many townships will also offer 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. polling hours, although some will have 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. hours.  (Check times on Public Notices page).

The top of the ballot has DFL incumbent governor Mark Dayton seeking a second, four-year term. His Republican challenger is Hennepin County Commissioner Jeffrey Johnson.

One of Minnesota’s two U.S. Senate seats will be decided by voters.  First-term incumbent Democrat Al Franken is seeking reelection.  His Republican challenger is businessman Mike McFadden.  Hannah Nicolette is the Independence Party’s candidate.

In the U.S. House, Democrat Collin Peterson, is seeking a 13-term to Congress.  He is being challenged by former state Republican senator Torrey Wenstrom of Elbow Lake.

Minnesota House of Representative races are also on the ballot.

In District 16A, incumbent Republican Chris Swedzinski, Ghent, is being challenged by DFLer Laurie Driessen of Canby.  The District 16B race has incumbent Republican Paul Torkelson running against DFL challenger James Kanne, a diary farmer.

Rep. Joe Schomacker, Luverne, is running for his third term in the Minnesota House on the Republican ticket.  Democrat Diane Slyter of Florence opposes Schomacker.

Republican Rod Hamilton, a farmer from Mt. Lake, is seeking his sixth term in the state house in District 22 B.  Cheryl Avenel-Navara, Worthington, a retired Minnesota West faculty member,  is the DFL-endorsed candidate.

Voters will also decide a host of county, school district, and municipal elections.