Janesville56.1°

Fire destroys tobacco shed on Albion Township farm

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Shelly Birkelo
Stacy Vogel
November 12, 2009
— Insurance will cover the key farm equipment lost in a $1 million fire early Wednesday morning, the farm’s owners said.

The fire destroyed a wooden tobacco shed in Albion Township and farm equipment inside and outside the shed, said Michael McGuire, one of the owners.


Edgerton firefighters found the building fully engulfed upon arrival at 306 Goede Road, about a mile north of the Edgerton city limits in Dane County, Chief Brian Demrow said.


“The building was already burned down to the ground when we got there,’’ he said.


Fire officials continue to investigate the cause of the fire reported at 1:02 a.m. The fire is not considered suspicious, Demrow said.


The estimated loss to the shed and contents both inside and outside is more than $1 million, according to a news release from the Dane County Sheriff's Office.


The farm and shed are owned by Marianne and Michael McGuire, who live on a neighboring farm, and Marianne’s three brothers, Marianne said. They had a little insurance on the structure but not full coverage, she said.


“I should have had it all covered completely, but it costs so damn much to have every bit covered,” she said.


The family did not have insurance on the machinery inside, which Michael said was more than 50 years old.


“(The machines inside) don’t amount to nothing,” he said. “It’s junk.”


The equipment outside the shed was much more valuable and was insured, Michael said. A relative rents the farm and owned the equipment parked outside.


“They’ll have new equipment out there in the morning,” he said.


Workers had harvested corn until 10:30 p.m. Tuesday and parked the machines near the shed so they could fuel up right away in the morning, Michael said.


The fire was discovered when a barking dog woke the man who rents the house on the farm, Marianne said. Michael and Marianne weren’t called until 8 a.m. Wednesday, after the fire was put out.


“It was terrible,” Marianne said. “All the machinery is just burned right up.”


The tenant lost a truck and ATV parked inside the shed, Michael said. They were not insured, he said.


The fire was so hot it melted siding on the house 50 feet away, Michael said. The fire did not significantly damage the house, another barn or out buildings, Demrow said.


There were no injuries, Demrow said.


Milton Fire Department provided a tanker and Evansville firefighters provided backup at Edgerton’s fire station.



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