A Canadian Pacific Railroad engineer sounded his train horn in support as five fire trucks from the Rogers and Valley City Rural Fire Departments battled a scattered fire a couple miles east of State Highway 1 in Stewart Township at about 5:50 p.m. on Wednesday. The crews would later be joined by a sixth engine from VCRFD as they fought the fourth fire reported in the county on Tuesday afternoon.
A controlled burn got out of control in Section 24 of Getchell Township shortly before 3 p.m. on Tuesday. The fire, reported by John Cook, was the third that had been reported that afternoon and the second fire the VCRFD responded to.
The Valley City Rural Fire Department set up a pincer attack on a township road to fight the fire that was raging through a large patch of cattails on some Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) land. Flames shot over a dozen feet above the tips of the cattails, filling the air with dark smoke that could be seen from the Hi-Line Bridge about 7 miles away as the crow flies.
Barnes County Sheriff’s Deputy Scott Crump said the CRP fire was not his first of the day. He had also responded to a barn fire about five miles south of Interstate 94 exit 272, along with the Sanborn Fire Department.
The VCRFD also responded to a fire on I-94 less than an hour before getting a call on the Getchell fire. Two callers had reported a car with a tire on fire in the westbound lane of I-94 near exit 294. The car, owned by 33-year-old Jeremy Lee Sullivan, of Portland, Ore., was reported on fire at 2:04 p.m., 48 minutes before the Getchell blaze got out of hand.