Fire destroys honey plant in Winfred
|By:ELISA BENTLER, Staff Reporter||10/03/2002|
WINFRED -- Five area volunteer fire departments battled a fire Wednesday afternoon which destroyed the beeswax rendering plant in Winfred.
Fire departments from Howard, Canova, Winfred, Ramona and Madison battled the blaze, which started at approximately 3:30 p.m. Madison Fire Chief Jerry Johnson said they were on site until 8:45 p.m.
The Farmers Co-Op in Howard and the F&M Co-Op in Madison provided additional tankers of water.
The business, A.H. Meyer and Sons, Inc., processes the honey from beehives into beeswax. The wax rendering plant burned down in Wednesday's fire.
No employees were working Wednesday at the time of the fire because they were attending the funeral for local resident Robert Beck Jr.
Because of the intensity of the fire, Johnson said that if someone had been in the building, firefighters wouldn't have gone in after them.
Employees were working Thursday in the office and extracting plant.
Jack Meyer Jr., vice president of A.H. Meyer and Sons, was unavailable for comment at press time.
Johnson said the cause of the fire is unknown. He was at the site Thursday and expected the State Fire Marshal to arrive around noon.
Johnson said an investigator may also be on site from the Meyers' insurance company because it was a commercial building and a high-dollar loss was incurred.
Johnson said firefighters concentrated on controlling the blaze and protecting nearby buildings Wednesday.
"We determined early on there wasn't much there to save and the best approach was to save the surrounding buildings," he said.
Firefighters also concentrated on cooling down three or four nearby propane tanks.
The blaze consumed two of three buildings on the east side of S. Main Street in Winfred. Johnson said the finished product was stored in the third building.
The fire burned for at least an hour before the south wall of the building was pushed in with a backhoe.
"It was pretty much burned down pretty good when we did push the wall in," Johnson said. "There wasn't much hope of saving anything."
Johnson said the wall was pushed in because of concern that it would fall outward and damage the propane tanks.
This is the second fire the company has had. The first was 10 years ago when the extracting plant burned. Johnson said the first fire was two blocks north of Wednesday's fire and on the west side of the road. That building has since been rebuilt.
©Madison Daily Leader 2013
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