The Algona Upper Des Moines from Algona, Iowa on March 19, 1968 · Page 6
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March 19, 1968

The Algona Upper Des Moines from Algona, Iowa · Page 6

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Algona, Iowa
Issue Date:
Tuesday, March 19, 1968
Page:
Page 6
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6-Algona, (la.) Upper DCS Moines Tuesday, March 19, 1968 Fires Follow Dry Winter Algona firemen (like many others around the tinder-dry midwest) were kept more than busy during the weekend as a series of varied blazes threatened to cause very severe damage at times. Most serious occurred shortly before 1 p. m. Friday when sparks from a Northwestern Railway diesel freight engine touched off a series of grass fires along the right-of-way. Details of the fire will be found in a story elsewhere in this issue of the UDM. Smoke from a pile of tires at the Les Faber Construction Co. northeast of the city can be seen in the top photo. A small, vacated house and old machine shed on a farm owned by Raphael Faber, about eight miles southwest of Algona, went up in flames about 11:25 a. m. Saturday.' Smouldering ruins of the buildings can be seen in the bottom picture. The little house was being burned down and flames spread to the machine shed. Firemen were called when another nearby building, a chicken house, was threatened. It was saved. According to Mr. Faber, the buildings burned had little value and were not insured. At 1:25 p. m. Saturday, a call from the Ernest Kellenberger farm near Algona requested help from the firemen. Before they went to the scene, however, another call told them it had been brought under control. A short time later, firemen went to lots owned by Bob Laing on North Garfield street to extinguish a grass fire that threatened to travel down the Milwaukee Railroad right-of-way. There was no damage. (UDM Newsfotos) A series of grass fires in many parts of the state have plagued firemen: Many of these fires were caused by careless trash burning, improper disposal of cigarettes and in some cases, lack of adequate precaution and care by property owners. The fire marshal called on homeowners to burn trash and lawn cleanings in approved, screened containers, and on property owners to use extreme caution in starting and watching fires in fields or adjacent to roadways. Johnson cited the Iowa Code which provides penalties for those persons who allow fires to escape their control. According to Johnson, proper habits in regard to the control of fires in the past few weeks might have prevented the serious loss. He said, "The low moisture content of Iowa farm fields could prove especially dangerous in the early weeks of spring without proper safeguards by residents of both town and country." The fire marshal's office said that all railroads serving the state have agreed to cooperate, in helping to prevent sparks from being dropped along right- of-ways. KOSSUTH COUNTY'S FAVORITE NEWSPAPER I A Northwestern Railway diesel engine was blamed Friday for setting a series of grass fires along the right-of-way along the railroad tracks leading to Algona from the northeast. Algona firemen were called at 12:50 p.m. and remained at the scene of the numerous fires, which spread about 10 minutes after the train went through the area, for about two hours. Northwestern workmen remained on duty along the tracks into the night Friday watching for possible flare-ups of the blazes. There was considerably more damage in this latest fire along the Northwestern right-of-way than the half-dozen others reported within the past year or so. A pile of 20 large tires, owned by Les Faber, local road contractor, some old and some in good shape, went up in black smoke. The Faber shop and grounds are located just northeast of the city limits a,nd while the tires were destroyed, with no estimate of loss made immediately, more expensive heavy road equipment nearby escaped the flames. Mr. Faber told the Upper Des Moines Saturday morning that he planned to confer with railroad insurance officials before filing a claim. The tires are expensive, so the loss could run into hundreds of dollars. Remainder of damage along the right-of-way was pretty much limited to very dry grass and weeds. Smoke drifted over a large area surrounding the tracks — and the smoke from Faber-owned tires attracted a large number of persons to the scene. The smoke could be seen for miles. A day earlier, the state fire marshal's office issued a warning on fires this spring. The prolonged dry spell has played a large part in the series of fires that have swept across ' Iowa in recent weeks, according to State Fire Marshal Wilbur Johnson. 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