Large farm shed fire east of Dupo

More than 10 area fire departments, including Columbia, Dupo, Millstadt, Prairie du Pont and Camp Jackson, responded shortly before 4:15 a.m. Thursday to a large farm shed fire at 7950 Westview Farms Lane off Imbs Station Road in rural St. Clair County. Firefighters battled the blaze for more than three hours.

The Illinois state fire marshal was requested to assist in an investigation. A passerby called in the fire at 4:12 a.m.

Columbia Fire Chief Mike Roediger said one wooden-frame pole barn with an estimated size of 90 feet by 150 feet was completely destroyed, as were its contents.

“It’s all the way on the ground,” the chief said.

Inside the shed were two tractor-trailers with full loads of beans that were ready to go to market, Roediger said, as well as other farm machinery.

Another shed of the same size – located just eight feet away from the other shed – was mostly saved, Roediger said. It contained tractors, combines, a semi truck and other items.

The farm belongs to Eric Hofstetter. A residence on the property, located more than 150 feet away from the large sheds, was not affected.

Firefighters were able to avert further disaster by keeping multiple diesel fuel tanks and another fuel tank located near the sheds from exploding. Some of the tanks got very hot from the flames, Roediger said.

“We were lucky they didn’t explode,” he said. “We were able to cool them off.”

Roediger added that loud popping sounds heard at the scene were most likely from the tires and fuel tanks of the burning tractor-trailers.

Assisting fire departments shuttled water to the property and provide manpower at the scene, Roediger said.

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