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Area departments respond to rural fires
CC fire
Platteville firefighters assisted Cuba City firefighters at a fire in the Town of Smelser Friday.

Area firefighters spent much of their weekend responding to two rural fires, one of them twice.

Approximately 250 bales of hay caught fire in a shed between Cuba City and Platteville Friday.

The Cuba City Area Fire Department was called to battle the blaze at 3874 Hill Road in the Town of Smelser on Friday. The property is owned by Jack Wiegman.

Mutual aid was provided by the Cuba City Area Rescue Squad and Hazel Green and Platteville fire departments, along with Rural Excavating of Platteville.

Firefighters were at the scene from approximately 1 to 6:30 p.m.

Cuba City Fire Chief Steve Tranel said the biggest challenge with this fire was that there wasn’t any place to go with the hot hay. The shed was surrounded on three sides by cornfields, leaving fire fighters few options to extinguish the burning bales.

“It looked like the metal roof was collapsed on the bales when we got there,” said Tranel. “The shed was wall-to-wall full of hay.”

Tranel said crews were called back out to the scene several times over the weekend for smoking patches of hay, including early Sunday morning.

“If farmers have hay that they think is getting hot, the fire department has a temperature probe to test the heat,” said Tranel. He urged farmers to test their hay before moving it.

Then, on Sunday at 2:02 a.m. the Lancaster Fire Department was called to the Rodney Koeller Farm at 9072 Shortcut Road in the Town of South Lancaster.

Mutual aid was also received from Bloomington and Potosi fire departments.

When fire crews arrived onscene, structures were fully engulfed, ultimately destroying the milking parlor and cattle holding areas, but crews were able to save the free stall barn and calf shed. The owners of the farm were also able to get the cattle out, meaning no animals were lost because of the fire.

In total, crews were at the scene for three hours. The cause of the fire is yet unknown.