Fire empties Avalon
Photo by Dan Lassiter
AVALON A fire at a grain elevator near Clinton lit up the sky, closed roads and led to the evacuation of an entire village Tuesday night.
At 7:58 p.m., the Clinton Fire Department was called to a fire at Gavilon Grain, 9231 E. Avalon Road, in the unincorporated village of Avalon.
The Clinton Fire Department was joined at the scene by firefighters from Clinton, Evansville, Milton, the town of Beloit, the town of Turtle, Orfordville, Footville and a number of departments from northern Illinois.
The fire was in a maintenance shop at the facility, said Christine Laue, a spokeswoman for Gavilon.
A railroad car filled with anhydrous ammonia on rail tracks at the facility prompted the evacuation of nearby homes, said Sgt. Mark Thompson of the Rock County Sheriff's Department.
"Pretty much the entire village of Avalon was evacuated," Thompson said.
He estimated the village had about 20 homes.
Residents were allowed to return to their homes after Wisconsin & Southern Railroad moved the rail car to a different location.
For a brief period, Highway 140 was closed and access to Avalon Road was restricted.
By 9:40 p.m., firefighters had the fire contained to two buildings, Thompson said.
Thompson had not heard of any injuries at that time.
Firefighters remained on the scene as of 11 p.m.
Gavilon recently completed the first part of a multimillion-dollar improvement project for the site.
The project includes new in-bound and out-bound truck scales, additional storage capacity, new office buildings and rail line upgrades.
No damage estimates were available Tuesday.
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