News: Curtiss - Feed Mill Burns (Jul 2021)


Surnames: Blasel, Mueller, Thornton

----Source: Tribune-Phonograph (Abbotsford, WI) 14 Jul 2021

One of the longest-standing buildings in the village of Curtiss suffered a major fire early Saturday morning, leaving a scorched hole in a local landmark.

The fire at the Curtiss Feed Mill, owned by D& S Milling Co, was called in at about 2:13 a.m. on July 10, and when fire crews arrived, heavy smoke and flames were coming through the roof, according to a Facebook post by the Owen-Withee Curtiss Fire District.

OWC fire Chief Jason Thornton said his department responded with 13 firefighters and eight trucks and other apparatus.

“In total we had 11 fire departments and around 50 firefighters respond to the scene,” he said.

Erin Blasel, owner of D& S Milling, said she was on scene shortly after firefighters arrived.

“They did what they could do,” she said, referring to the firefighters’ work to save portions of the building.

The OWC Facebook page called it a “great save,” as firefighters were able to prevent the feed mill itself from coming down, and they also protected a portion of the building that houses equipment and vehicles.

Firefighters cleared the scene at about 11 a.m. on Saturday, and OWC units were back in service around 1 p.m. after the equipment was cleaned.

The cause of the fire is still under investigation.

“We will be working with a investigator from the insurance company to figure that out,” Thornton said.

Blasel believes the original building was constructed in 1956, making it about 65 years old. Having owned the mill for three and a half years and worked there for 25, Blasel said she would like to rebuild if possible.

“I’m not sure at this point,” she said. “I’m just waiting for the insurance company.”

In the aftermath of the fire, Blasel said she’s been getting words of support from other feed mills in the area and from the customers of the mill.

“Everybody has been super,” she said.

The mill has between 400 and 500 customers, Blasel said, and many of them are hobby farmers who depend on them for “simple, basic stuff.”

OWC received mutual aid from several area departments, including Stetsonville, Thorp, Stratford, Stanley, Boyd, Greenwood, Neillsville, Loyal, Chippewa, Spencer and Central Fire & EMS.

Joe Mueller, chief of the Central Fire and EMS District, said his district initially sent about 12 firefighters and six trucks as mutual aid, but they had to respond to a second fire call at a farm in the town of Mayville.

“We broke away half our crew to respond to the other one,” he said.

The second call, which came in at about 4:30 a.m., was the result of round hay bales catching on fire inside a shed at the Dennis Engel farm on County Line Road.

Mueller said they were on scene at the Engel farm for about two hours and then returned to the feed mill fire, which was still going when they got back.

“I didn’t get back until 10 in the morning,” he said.

Also assisting firefighters were public works departments in Curtiss and Abbotsford, the Clark County Highway Department and Haas Sons. The Curtiss Travel Center and McDonald’s in Abbotsford also provided free food and drinks for the firefighters.



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