Brownsdale fire causes $65,000 in damages

Published 5:12 pm Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A shed fire at a rural Brownsdale residence Wednesday resulted in about $65,000 in losses, including multiple vehicles, trailers, farm equipment and the shed structure, according to Mower County Chief Deputy Mark May, who said the father of the property owner was taken to Austin Medical Center for second-degree burns to his shin.

May said fire departments from Austin and Brownsdale responded around 3:30 p.m. to a residence at 25987 570th Ave., south of Brownsdale, on reports that a 1977 motor home had erupted in flames, a fire that eventually spread to the shed in which it was housed.

The fire had started during work on the vehicle, which reportedly backfired, causing flames to spread in the engine compartment, hood and, finally, camper interior, May stated.

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The fire spread to the rafters of the shed during efforts to extinguish it. May said 73-year-old Dale Garness was burned while trying to put out the fire with a garden hose. His son, 41-year-old Rodney Garness, owns the property.

The 40-foot by 60-foot shed was a total loss, along with its contents, which included the 1977 motor home, a 1984 pick-up truck, a 2003 Ford Windstar van, a 1993 Mazda 626, a 1976 slide-in camper, a two-wheel utility trailer, a hog furnace and hog mats and a large generator.

The shed was valued at $50,000; the items at $15,000.