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Two firefighters injured during Kerry fire

By Staff | Jan 31, 2011

A Sunday evening fire in a dryer unit at Kerry Ingredients in the Blue Earth Industrial Park was reminiscent of three years ago.

“It definitely brought back memories of that call in 2007,” Assistant Blue Earth Fire Chief Jim Wirkus says. “I thought, ‘uh-oh, here we go again.’ When we entered the building and saw the heavy, black smoke, I was having flashbacks.”

The fire in 2007 damaged a large portion of the factory and warehouse area.

This one was confined in one room, and Wirkus calls it not as serious.

Two firefighters, however, suffered injuries and were transported to United Hospital. One was treated and released, the other was held overnight for observation.

Wirkus says neither injury was serious and declined to go into detail.

The Blue Earth Department received mutual aid assistance from the Winnebago, Frost, Elmore and Delavan departments.

“We called them mainly for extra manpower, and equipment, in case we would need it,” Wirkus says. “In cold weather, you never know what might be needed.”

The department responded to the call at 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. They were on the site for three hours.

“We were able to keep the fire contained to one area,” Wirkus says. “We had to work at ventilating the smoke out of the room, without contaminating the rest of the building.”

Wirkus says everyone from all the departments worked together well, and he had praise for their quick response and help.

“The fire was handled in a short period,” Wirkus says. “We appreciate the help and thank the other departments for their aid.”

No estimate of damage was reported, but Kerry officials say insurance adjusters were on the scene on Wednesday.

Employees had been evacuated in a precautionary move, but no employees were injured.

Blue Earth City Administrator Kathy Bailey issued a press release that the city had offered assistance to Kerry, but none had been requested as of this time.