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Fox Family Farm loses buildings in May 24 fire

A second fire raged on the Fox Farm in Rosemount this year and required Rosemount Fire to enlist mutual aid from nine area fire departments May 24, 2018, as heat, winds and tending water all presented challenges. Two buildings were lost along with chickens and small hogs. Photo courtesy of Farmington Fire Department

ROSEMOUNT — Hastings and Miesville firefighters were among those who responded to Rosemount Fire Department's call for mutual aid at the Fox Family Farm homestead.

A farm employee reported a structure fire at 2:27 p.m. Thursday, May 24. The fire was burning in a livestock building at 6063 160 St. E.

Rosemount Assistant Fire Chief Jim Voelker said the blaze resulted in a loss of two buildings, chickens and small hogs. He said 10 fire crews in all were required.

"We set up a defensive attack to make sure the fire did not spread to any other buildings and we were able to cool down some of the hogs that were close to the fire, and the farmers that had the pigs on site were able to help move some pigs away from the barns that were burning," Voelker said.

Rick Chase, Rosemount fire marshal, said the farm fire is still classified as undetermined.

"The fire was hot for a couple days and some area we have not been able to access the first 24 to 48 hours," he said.

Challenges included the 93-degree sweltering heat, wind and tending the water supply until 8:30 p.m., said Voelker, who has served as firefighter for 21 years.

More than 20 Rosemount Fire Department firefighters responded. Mutual aid came from nine other communities. Right away, auto aid and a ladder truck and tender trucks from Hastings Fire arrived on scene, along with aid from Inver Grove Heights, Miesville and Randolph-Hampton.

"The tender tanker trucks shuttle the water during the fire, and it is just how that area is set up just because we have to truck in all the water — we know we are going to need the water," he said.

More than 55 firefighters were on the scene. Other departments to offer aid included Farmington, Lakeville, Eagan and Cottage Grove as well as Prescott, Wis.

Apple Valley Fire covered the city of Rosemount during this farm fire.

"A lot of the firefighters on the scene were shuttling water and we hauled 143,000 gallons of water," Voelker said..

Rosemount Police and Dakota County Sheriff assisted with crowd control and helping to direct traffic and fire trucks on Highway 46.

"With the heat, that was the struggle and we wanted to have enough people on scene to rotate in and out to keep them fresh and not to get overheated," he said.

Firefighters' gear and air packs add 75 pounds to a firefighter.

"It can be a challenge during fires because sometimes firefighters do not want to take breaks," Voelker said.

Thunderstorms and heavy rains rolled in, providing some relief for the firefighters from the extreme heat.

Firefighters cooled off inside a HealthEast ambulance and air-conditioned fire trucks. The ambulance staff kept firefighters hydrated and cooled off.

Two Rosemount firefighters reported minor injuries after the fire.

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