Firefighters battle blaze, freezing temperatures in Hopkins Township

Daniel Pepper, Staff Writer

A fire at a business in Hopkins Township totally destroyed a building, several tractors and a semi truck.

Hopkins Area Fire Department assistant chief Bob Kerber said they were called about 3:02 a.m. Friday, March 6.

"The explosion woke up the neighbors on 136th Avenue and they called 911," Kerber said.

Hopkins and Wayland firefighters responded to the building, which was used by several related businesses, on 135th Avenue near 16th Street. Kerber said it was fully engulfed when he got there.

"We did save a few things," Kerber said. "There were six personal vehicles parked near the building. We were able to move them out of the way and kept them from melting."

Firefighters also saved a trailer parked near the building by hosing it down.

Kerber said the Wayland fire chief was actually first on scene, as he only lives a mile away, and the departments called in help from Weicks Brother Excavating. He said the building's steel roof had collapsed soon after he got to the scene; bringing in an excavator allowed firefighters to stay out of danger while the excavator pulled back the roof to expose anything still burning beneath it.

Firefighters also had to deal with below-zero temperatures.

The Dorr, Salem and Martin departments sent tankers to the scene to help, Kerber said.

He also said he did not yet have any idea what caused the fire.

Firefighters were on scene until 7 a.m., he said, and appreciated the gift of breakfast sandwiches they got from the Wayland McDonald's.

Contact Dan Pepper at or at (269) 673-5534 or (269) 685-9571.


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