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Firefighters battle flames and a front-end loader

Brady Gunhus

A 46-year-old Castle Rock man faces charges of obstruction after threatening the safety of firefighters and police officers at the scene of a Sunday night fire.

Brady John Gunhus, 46, is being charged because he used a front-end loader to block firefighters who were trying to respond to a fire on his property.

According to Dakota County chief deputy Dave Bellows, the sheriff's department received a report at 11:22 p.m. of a fire that involved several explosions on Denmark Avenue in Castle Rock Township.

County deputies, Farmington firefighters and Farmington police responded. When deputies arrived, they found Gunhus on the property, operating a front-end loader. Gunhus allegedly used the machine to stop firefighters from gaining access to the fire, Bellows said.

It's not clear why Gunhus didn't want firefighters on his property.

According to Bellows, deputies and Farmington officers instructed Gunhus to turn off the front-end loader so firefighters could get to the fire. Gunhus refused and continued to drive it around the property. Gunhus reportedly swore at officers several times, as well.

At one point, Bellows said, Gunhus drove the front-end loader to the house, jumped off and ran into the building, where he was subsequently arrested.

"Officers felt threatened," Bellows said. "He's in a front-end loader, he's driving this thing around and won't let firefighters get to the fire. It was a very hectic situation."

The original cause of the fire is still under investigation. Farmington fire marshal John Powers said the cause is undetermined, and may be hard to identify because of the extent of damage to the shed. A camper parked near the shed also caught fire.

Gunhus was taken into custody Sunday night. On Tuesday, he was charged with a gross misdemeanor for obstructing firefighting.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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