Hangar, airplanes destroyed in fire at Osceola airport

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OSCEOLA, Iowa — A hangar at the Osceola Municipal Airport was destroyed after it caught fire Tuesday evening.

Osceola Fire Chief Byron Jimmerson said no one was injured in the fire, but two planes, a truck, and a tractor in the building were destroyed.

“This was pretty, pretty intense,” Jimmerson said. “Probably one of the most labor intensive and resource heavy instances we’ve had in a long time.”

Eight different fire departments responded to the fire; crews from Chariton and Humeston had to travel a half-hour from their respective towns for the effort.

Jimmerson said they needed every last one of them to contain the inferno.

“Even though the building was lost, we prevented further spreading,” Jimmerson said. “We’re protecting the buildings and keeping our people safe. An airplane hangar is not worth one firefighter’s significant injury or loss of life.”

Jimmerson said the hardest part was using tankers to deliver water to the scene, since the airport’s supply was not enough to make an impact on the flames.

“There’s a water tower on Highway 34 with a fire hydrant, but we had so many trucks running, we ended up breaking some off to come up to a tower by the fire station,” Jimmerson said. “In terms of having to haul that much water to a rural location, I can’t think of any other instance in recent history.”

Jimmerson said welding work in the building, specifically a blowtorch, was the likely cause of the fire.

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