By Ryan Gueningsman
INDEPENDENCE, MN - A large amount of equipment was destroyed by fire along with a 30-by-40-foot shed Feb. 3 at the James Luegge residence on Fogelman Road in Independence just after 4 a.m.
“It was my shop,” Luegge said, noting that it was affectionately referred to as “the whole lawn and garden division.”
Many pieces of miscellaneous equipment were housed in the shed, including tools, chain saws, four-wheelers, gardening equipment, a tractor, and Luegge’s 1985 Toyota that he said was “totally rust free.”
A Ford pickup truck and a Lund fishing boat also appeared to have minor damage, according to West Hennepin Public Safety. A majority of the shed was Sheetrocked and insulated, Leugge added.
“By the time we got there, there was still fire, but the majority of the consumables had been burned up,” said Maple Plain Fire Chief Nate Jerde. “At that point, since there were no life safety issues, we went into a mode to drown it and get the fire put out.”
West Hennepin Public Safety Director Ray McCoy said the homeowner was woken to bright orange glow in the sky and observed flames 20 feet into the air. Upon arrival at the scene, officers confirmed with the homeowner there was no livestock in the shed.
Though the shed was far enough away from the residence that there wasn’t a significant concern that the fire could spread, precautions were taken with propane tanks and things of that nature.
The Maple Plain Fire Department remained on scene close to three hours, Jerde said.
“The response time was excellent,” Leugge said. “They actually built a temporary tank at the end of my road, and had to run hose about 200 yards to pole barn. Hats off to the fire department it’s a total loss, but they did an excellent job.”
Jerde also felt that, despite the shed being a total loss, things worked well as far as extinguishing the fire.
“Everything went well,” Jerde said. “We worked closely with West Hennepin. They gave us a nice report as we were responding to the scene.”
No injuries were reported, though Luegge said there were a number of his father’s old tools, as well as memories that were lost with the shed. Leugge said he is planning on rebuilding a shed on his property.
“I’ll have to or I’ll drive my wife nuts,” Luegge said with a laugh.
The Hennepin County Fire Investigation Team and state fire marshal’s office are assisting West Hennepin Public Safety with the investigation as to the cause of the fire.