Barn destroyed in fire east of Clear Lake

By: 
Jarrod Schoenecker

Jarrod Schoenecker photo
The barn was mostly full of hay left over from the previous owner. It continued to smolder the next morning after being spread out by a backhoe.

A fire engulfed a barn owned by John Winjum on 354th Street, or Le Sueur County Road 124, about a mile east of Clear (Lexington) Lake on the afternoon on Tuesday, March 6.

The building, with a pole shed lean-to attached, was a total loss. Buildings nearby were not affected, including the old original uninhabited house.

No animals or property were in the building, which was mostly filled with old hay that was left from the previous owner. The hay was still smoldering the day after with much hay left even after the fire.

Winjum bought the property in August of 2022. “We were just in the middle of cleaning it up,” said Winjum, “I have no idea what would have started it (the fire).”

Le Center Fire Chief Dan Holden said, “The barn was fully engulfed when we arrived with flames out the roof, doors, and windows. The main part of the barn collapsed within two-to-three minutes of us arriving.”

The house on the property is rented to three siblings unrelated to the owner. Renters Thomas Wagner and Anna Wagner said they were not home at the time of the fire. “We were on our way to Mankato. We were actually almost there when a neighbor called us and said, ‘Your barn is on fire,’ so we came back home,” said Anna. When they arrived home they had to park on the gravel roadside behind the long row of emergency vehicles and walk home because of the muddy conditions and ongoing water tankers coming in.

The recent warmer weather and melting few inches of snow from Monday evening made conditions questionable for accessing the fire... Pick up a copy of the March 9 edition of the Montgomery Messenger to continue reading. Subscribe online at MontgomeryMNNews.com. Digital subscription included.

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