Major Fire in McCallsburg for Training

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MCCALLSBURG, Iowa -- A fire has destroyed a grain elevator in McCallsburg, but this one was for training purposes.

Fire departments from 18 communities, are on hand to do a controlled burn of the Key Cooperative structure.  That company had suffered the loss to fire of one of their structures this week due to a fire at its Gilbert facility.

The McCallsburg fire was planned long in advance.  Firefighters gathered around 8 a.m. to map the strategy of how to traffic all of the fire trucks that are hauling water.

"We'll start the fire here, it will burn up the elevator shaft, up to the head house,"  said Lowell Abarr of Des Moines, who serves as an organizer and photographer of the burn.

Scott Thompson is a fire fighter from Humboldt, who has organized over 200 burns like the elevator one in McCallsburg.  He says the old structures are fairly easy to set ablaze.

The blaze was set on some pallets at the elevator shaft to the top, so the blaze broke from the top of the structure a mere eight minutes after it was set.

"This is a water training, we show them how to haul water to a large structure fire like this," said Thompson.  "It just shows everybody how to get water to the fire for these little towns that don't have a good water supply."

Here are the fire departments listed as participating: McCallsburg,Story City, Roland, Zearing, Gilbert, Hubbard, Ellsworth, Colo, Radcliffe, Clemons, Maxwell, Huxley, Jewell, Collins, Cambridge, Kelly, Nevada, and West Story.

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