PFD was one of several exhausted crews returning back to their station after a 10-hour fire. (Metro Wire photos)

Firefighters beat after all-hands-on-deck fire in Buena Vista

By Brandi Makuski

More than 50 firefighters from nine different departments ultimately responded to a shed fire on the 5400 block of County Trunk EE Monday.

Crews were paged at 10:18 a.m. on Sept. 30. Ten hours later, they got to go home.

Or rather, back to their respective fire stations. Plover Fire Chief Mark Deaver, incident commander for the scene, said it was a stubborn fire on an unseasonably warm day—and without a single fire hydrant anywhere near the scene.

Deaver said a 40′ by 160′ shed, owned by the Biadesz Family and filled 16 feet high with dry hay, was completely engulfed when the first crews arrived. His first request for additional units came volunteer departments in Amherst, Almond, and Bancroft.

Not long after, he requested additional assistance in the form of fire tenders, sometimes called “tankers,” because he knew firefighters would need more water to extinguish the blaze. Tenders filled their tanks at a nearby farm, then transported the water to the scene, dumping it into collapsible water tanks for pumping.

“Sometime after that, we realized it was going to be pushing 85 degrees, and our guys were very dehydrated, and getting very tired, so we had to rotate guys out,” said Deaver, who then called for more help from fire departments in Hull, Rudolph, Stockton, Stevens Point, and Park Ridge.

Crews were on the scene for so long they had to call for more gas.

“We had Cooper Oil come out with a gas truck to fill our engines and tenders,” Deaver said. “We did have to shut one of our engines for a while, but they did get us fuel.”

Deaver said crews were using two engines to pump water. He estimates about 250,000 gallons of water were used during the call.

The shed housed no equipment and had no electric service, Deaver said. While the cause of the fire is still under investigation, he said witnesses reported seeing lightning in the area.

The last firefighter left the scene at 8:14 p.m. No injuries were reported, Deaver said.