Fighting Monday night fire (Photo by Ruth Hernandez)
A five-alarm fire that brought out dozens of Adams County firefighters destroyed the rear of Affolder Implement Sales on the south end of Berne on Monday night, but no one was injured.
No monetary estimate of damage was available this morning, and the cause of the blaze has yet to be determined, according to Berne Fire Chief Bill Grimm, who said his department will investigate the cause.
The Berne department was dispatched to the scene, along US 27 and within a few hundred feet of the South Adams schools, at 9:04 p.m. and was there until 4 a.m. today.
Firefighters from Decatur, Monroe, Preble and Geneva also were involved.
Some smaller-sized multi-use vehicles apparently were burned in the debris, but an assessment of the overall loss is still under way.
Some outside fuel tanks were cooled by firefighters to prevent an explosion.
The fire departments were easily able to shuttle water to the scene by tanker trucks from the nearby Berne fire station, less than a mile away, just west of the SA schools. The Berne station is equipped to fill tanker trucks quickly, the Daily Democrat was told.
Oil inside the building was considered a likely hazard to the environment if it were released, so Adams County Emergency Management Agency (EMA) Director John August drove some booms to the site, but Grimm said the booms were not used.
Traffic on busy US 27 was hampered by the number of fire trucks and men involved, with only tractor-trailer trucks and emergency vehicles allowed through for some time.
The Preble firefighters brought their breathing tank refill truck, which was used as firefighters entered the building to battle the flames.
Affolder Implement Sales is owned by Greg Milholland of Decatur; efforts to contact him this morning by telephone were unsuccessful.
The Berne department was assisted by these other local departments:
Geneva, dispatched at 9:08 p.m. and at the scene until 4 a.m.
Monroe, dispatched at 9:29 p.m. and at the scene until 2:23 a.m.
Decatur, dispatched at 10:15 p.m. and at the scene until 2:24 a.m.
Preble, dispatched at 10:04 p.m. and at the scene until 1:48 a.m.