Fire destroys converted granary in the town of Beloit
Forty firefighters from 11 departments on Tuesday battled a fire that caused $170,000 damage to a former granary southwest of Afton.
The Town of Beloit Fire Department was dispatched to 4097 S. Gesley Road at 9:54 a.m. Firefighters saw a large plume of black smoke before arriving and called for mutual aid, said town of Beloit Capt. Rich Tippett.
The fire was contained to a 40-foot by 70-foot building formerly used as a granary that had been converted to store several riding mowers, a tractor, a small front-end loader and a four-wheel drive utility vehicle.
The shed and contents are considered a total loss. Damage estimates are $20,000 for the structure and $150,000 for contents.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation, and the Wisconsin Department of Criminal Investigation has been asked to assist, according to a fire department news release.
Patti and Larry Anderson own the property, which includes a home and another outbuilding.
When Larry Anderson headed down his driveway at 8 a.m. to get his newspaper, there weren't any problems with the shed, he said.
Just before 10 a.m., Anderson said he heard “a couple of booms.” At first, the couple thought the noise might be from blasting at a gravel pit, but they soon saw the smoke and fire.
Tankers and fire trucks from departments between Janesville and Loves Park, Ill., were called to battle the blaze. At the mouth of the Andersons' long driveway, tankers repeatedly filled a portable folding tank with 2,500 gallons of water. The water then was pumped through a fire truck and through more than 1,000 feet of hose to the site of the fire.
By 12:30 p.m., firefighters were hosing down rubble.
Tuesday marks the second time in less than a decade the Andersons have had to replace all of the equipment. Previously, the couple stored the equipment in a barn on the property. That building was destroyed by fire about four years ago, Patti Anderson said.
In addition, the Andersons' daughter, Lori Cade, lost her restored Victorian farmhouse on Gesley Road to a fire in 2005, according to Gazette records.