Warehouses burn in HollandalePublished 6:56am Tuesday, July 9, 2013
HOLLANDALE — For more than eight hours Monday firefighters from at least 20 area fire departments — including Austin — battled a blaze that destroyed three warehouses in Hollandale. The buildings were a total loss, and at least one firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion.
Two of the three warehouses stored antique vehicles — including Ford Model T and Model A cars and trucks — under the business name of Jones Storage, and the third warehouse was rented out for a motorcycle parts business. The warehouses, at 101 Netherlands Ave. W., were owned by Donald and Irene Jones.
“That building right there is the history of Hollandale,” said Jon Stout, brother-in-law of Irene Jones.
Stout said the warehouses used to be part of a potato company owned by Paul D. Jones for many years. Before that, they were part of a lumber yard.
Mike Alvey, who stopped by his father’s home about a block away and then saw the blaze, said he worked at the potato company for eight years helping to grow potatoes and onions.
“I’ve seen fires, but never anything like this,” Alvey said. “A lot of people have been employed by this place.”
The blaze drew the attention of dozens of Hollandale residents, who could be seen standing and watching within a few blocks, many taking photos with their cellphones. The smoke could be seen for miles.
Freeborn County Emergency Management Director Rich Hall said the fire call came in around noon. At that time, only one structure was engulfed.
Within a few hours, more than a dozen fire departments were at the scene to provide water and extra manpower because of high temperatures and humidity. The high Monday reached 90 degrees, with a heat index of 93.
Firefighters were at the scene until 8:30 p.m., said Freeborn County detective Chuck Malepsy.
Residents in the block surrounding the warehouses were advised of a potential evacuation, said resident Janice Jensen, who lives five houses down Netherlands Avenue. She said she packed up her medicines and important papers as a precaution.
Hall said the State Fire Marshal’s Office will investigate the cause of the fire, which is unknown.