By Matt Kane
MEDINA, MN Fire crews from Loretto, Hamel, Maple Plain, Hanover, and Rockford teamed up Tuesday afternoon to battle a barn fire at 4555 Pioneer Trail in Medina.
The Loretto Fire Department initially received the call around 2 p.m., and responded to the blaze at the residence of Andrew and Lisa Hanson. There, the Loretto crew found a red, five-stall horse barn engulfed in flames.
“We got there approximately five or six minutes after the call came out, and there were already flames through the roof,” Loretto Fire Chief Jeff Leuer said.
Lisa Hanson was home at the time of the fire, but she wasn’t aware of the fire until a passerby knocked on her door and told her. Both called 911.
While some firefighters shooed three curious horses away from the barn Tuesday, others fought to put out the structure fire, and to control the smoldering hay, an estimated 300 bales, inside the barn. Lisa Hanson said, Wednesday, that the Loretto department left the property around 5 p.m. Tuesday, but returned later that night because of the hay rekindling. Wednesday morning, members of the Loretto Fire Department returned to the scene to check on the conditions.
As of late last week, the cause of the fire was unknown.
The barn was the home of three trail horses, “Manny,” “Midnight,” and “Sundance,” none of which were injured.
“We are just happy the horses are safe,” Lisa Hanson said. “It’s a total loss, but we are covered, insurance-wise.”
Hanson said “Manny,” Midnight,” and “Sundance,” are temporarily staying at the horse boarding facility across the road. She joked about the treatment her horses will now get.
“They probably won’t want to come back,” Hanson said. “The barn over there is heated.”
The barn was more than just a building to house the Hanson’s three horses, according to Hanson. She was reminded of this Tuesday afternoon.
“Our daughters came home from school and were crying. Just the memories,” she said.
Hanson said the barn was an important part of the landscape for commuters driving on Highway 55, which runs just north of the property.
“People drive by, off 55, and see it, and comment on how it’s a picturesque barn,” Hanson said.
Because of the barn’s visual importance to the area, the Hansons are already planning to resurrect it.
“We adamantly want to build it to look like it did,” Lisa Hanson said.
She thanked all who responded to the fire.
“We would like to thank all the volunteer firefighters and the Salvation Army, which came out and served the firefighters some food,” Hanson said. “It was very cold out and not a great day to fight a fire.”
Battling the blaze for the Loretto firefighters was made more difficult by the sub-zero weather.
“The biggest thing today is the weather, obviously. Right now, it’s 7-below yet, and the hardest thing is keeping the firefighters motivated, and keeping them warm. We switch them out quite frequently,” Leuer said Tuesday from the scene. “Also, we have to make sure the equipment is operable. We don’t want the equipment to break down in these conditions.”
Hamel, Maple Plain, Hanover, and Rockford all sent water trucks to the scene Tuesday.
The Delano Fire Department sent its water truck to Maple Plain for backup.