Rock Valley, Iowa — Five area fire departments worked for ten hours on Wednesday to extinguish a fire that burned 1500 round cornstalk bales near Rock Valley.
According to Rock Valley Fire Chief Brent Eshuis, about 3:45 p.m., the Rock Valley Fire Department was called to the report of a ditch fire with round bales on fire in the 3400 block of Fig Avenue, three miles south of Rock Valley and one mile east.
The chief says the fire department saw a large hay fire as they approached the scene. He says it appears to have started when a ditch fire went out of control and started the nearby round bales on fire. He says it also burned an electric line and pole owned by MidAmerican Energy. He says they called the electric company, who assisted on-scene. Eshuis tells us they sprayed the bales down and a local excavator helped them by pulling them apart. Four to five farmers with payloaders helped. He says they took the bales into a pasture. Eventually, AB Excavating of Larchwood came with an excavator with a 60-foot reach. Eshuis says a big thank-you goes to them. He says without them, they’d still be there working on the fire.
Eshuis says no injuries were reported.
The fire department was assisted by the Hull, Sioux Center, Ireton, and Doon fire departments, the Rock Valley Ambulance Squad, the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office, the Iowa State Patrol, the Sioux County Engineer’s Office, Sioux County Emergency Management, the Rural Water system, and neighbors with their payloaders.
Chief Eshuis reports that the damage consisted of the bales, the electric pole, and possible smoke damage in a house.
He says the firefighters who responded were on the scene for ten hours and used between 150,000 and 175,000 gallons of water to extinguish the huge blaze.
A much smaller fire was put out near Larchwood, also on Wednesday afternoon. Larchwood Fire Chief Tony De Smet says it was in the 1600 block of 160th Street, which is two miles south and almost a mile west of Larchwood. He says it was also a fire that got out of control. Someone was burning garbage, and the fire started the grass on fire and also destroyed a small ten by twelve-foot shed, says De Smet.
No injuries were reported, and firefighters had the fire extinguished in about a half an hour.
Picture from the Sioux County Sheriff’s Office