Moody County volunteer fire departments fought two rural blazes in less than 24 hours over the weekend, and both fires were total losses.
Trent firefighters were called to the Tom and Molly Scherff’s farm west of Trent about 8 p.m. Saturday where a granary was on fire. The fire spread to a camper parked nearby, gutting it as well. The fire started to burn another building, but firefighters were able to knock it down before it destroyed that one, said Tom Scherff, who also is the fire chief.
A person driving by the farm one mile west of town saw the fire and drove in the Scherff’s yard to tell them.
“Thank God that passerby was going by at that time. Ten minutes later, I think I would have lost that one too,” he said of the storage building where fire started to crawl up the outside wall. “The south half of that granary was pretty well lit up by then (when the passerby saw it).”
Scherff does not know how the fire started. There was no power to the building, he said. Inside, there were stacks of firewood and other storage items, including a swimming pool. The camper also held summer items such as lawn furniture and bicycles.
The person who discovered the fire was able to help the Scherffs move a trailer away from the building, saving snowmobiles.
“It was different fighting my own fire,” Scherff said. “Adrenaline was pumping a lot higher.”
Colman and Flandreau departments also were called to the scene, where firefighters worked for at least two hours. The fire flared up again Sunday, and Scherff and a couple of others put it out again.
At 9:25 a.m. Sunday, Flandreau volunteers were called to the Bruce and Wanda Kunze home west of Flandreau, just south of South Dakota Highway 32, for a fire that shot through the roof of the house by the time help arrived.
The three people inside, including the owners, all were able to get out of the house before calling 911, said Jud Krull, assistant fire chief. No one was hurt.
The fire started in the kitchen area, he said. The exact cause had not been determined Sunday night.
Firefighters fought the fire from the outside of the house, shooting water in through the roof. “It had already burned a big hole in the roof when we got there,” Krull said.
“We had to fight from the top because the majority of it was upstairs. We just filled it up from the top,” he said.
Tankers left to refill with water several times before the fire was out.
Firefighters, including volunteers from Colman and Trent, spent about 10 hours fighting the fire and cleaning up afterward, Krull said. About 35 volunteers helped.