It was a cold, long night in the Village of Fillmore, on the outskirts of Wykoff.
Down in the valley, ash and snow fell in tandem as firefighters battled a house fire at Virginia Winslow’s property while enduring subzero temperatures.
The Fillmore County Sheriff’s Office dispatch center received a 911 call at 2:35 p.m. on Wednesday, December 6, 2017, from the resident at 19232 County 8. There was a report of smoke in the house, but it was not clear at that time where the smoke was coming from.
After the Wykoff Fire Department arrived on the scene, they quickly realized that mutual aid would be needed. Initially, the Fountain Fire Department and the Chatfield Fire Department were called in for mutual aid. Soon after, the Spring Valley Fire Department and the Preston Fire Department were requested to assist. Spring Valley Ambulance was on standby to assist, as well.
Tanker trucks from all present fire departments could be seen traveling back and forth on County Road 8 to fill drop tanks of water to keep the hoses flowing. With the home heavily protected with steel siding and steel roofing, firefighters experienced difficulty ventilating the roof to access hotspots.
The Wykoff Fire Chief Wade Baker requested that the Stewartville Fire Department bring their ladder truck. With the ladder truck, firefighters were able to target hotspots more directly atop the roof. However, the steel roofing was resilient, which hindered battling the blaze. Around 7:30 p.m., O’Connell Excavating arrived with some heavy machinery. With the help of an excavator, the roof was ripped off of the house within a matter of 15 minutes, considerably exposing hotspots. The Stewartville Fire Department descended on the exposed second level of the home with their aerial ladder and thousands of gallons of water, while all other departments hit the house with hoses from the ground.
Fillmore Free Methodist Church Pastor Tim Ward welcomed firefighters to the church for free sub sandwiches, bottled water, cookies, and coffee.
The State Fire Marshal arrived on the scene, as well. No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.