Barn, sheep lost in fire

Photo from Aurora Fire Department Facebook page

Updated at 10 a.m. Feb. 20.

AURORA – More than 30 animals were lost in a sheep barn fire Tuesday, according to the Brookings County Sheriff’s Office.

The fire was reported at 3:35 p.m. Tuesday and occurred at 21610 478th Ave., southeast of Aurora, Assistant Sheriff Scott Sebring said.

“Upon arrival, the north side of the shed was fully engulfed with flames,” according to an email from Darien Hillmann of the Aurora Fire Department. 

The Aurora department was paged to the fire with mutual aid requested from the Brookings, Bruce, Volga, Sinai, Elkton and White departments.

“They had a working fire with the fire through the roof,” Brookings Fire Chief Darrell Hartmann said. 

“It had started – what they expect – in some alfalfa bales stored … There was a kind of a loft area they stored the alfalfa in for the sheep. That combusted and started the fire. Then it burnt through the floor and a bunch of that stuff all fell along the back wall,” Hartmann said.

“The majority of the barn is a total loss (and) the remaining part will have to be taken down anyway, considering the age of the barn,” Hillmann wrote. “We were able to extinguish the fire quickly to ensure it didn’t collapse.

“Fast response helped saved part of the shed, but 32 sheep were lost in the fire,” Hillmann added. 

Sebring said 15 ewes and 17 lambs were lost in the fire.

“The total value of the loss is estimated at $30,025,” Sebring added.

A call went out for all the fire departments in the county to lend support of water tenders. A water tender, also known as a tanker, is a specialized firefighting apparatus designed for transporting water from a water source to a fire scene. Water tenders are capable of drafting water from a stream, lake or hydrant, according to online.

Brookings Fire responded with two tenders and two engines, Hartmann said.

“The engines were more for personnel and equipment,” he added.

Hartmann said, to his knowledge, no one was injured.

“Brookings Ambulance and Elkton Ambulance assisted with medical standby,” according to Hillmann’s email.

The fire is under investigation with the Brookings County Sheriff’s Office.