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Rosemount farm loses chickens, barn in blaze

Rosemount Fire Department fought a five-hour blaze during frigid temperatures early New Year's Day. The fire destroyed a chicken barn on the Fox Farm.

The 911 call came at 2 a.m. Jan. 1, with reports of a large animal barn on fire off 160th Street at the Fox Farm in Rosemount, according to Rosemount Fire Chief Rick Schroeder. This farm homestead is a well-known farm that displays a large holiday winter scene, holiday lights and a store.

No one was injured in the fire, although the animal barn was a total loss and the chickens were killed in the rural blaze.

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"We were able to protect the adjacent buildings and the feed and equipment storage buildings were okay," Schroeder said.

Hastings Fire Department arrived first on scene due to the department's proximity to the blaze. Hastings Fire reported the fire was already through the roof when Rosemount firefighters arrived on scene within four minutes.

Rosemount Fire brought engines and tender trucks to haul water to extinguish the rural fire. The farm is located on the easternmost edge of the coverage area for Rosemount, Schroeder said.

"The air temp was minus-10 in the truck, so I am guessing it was near 20 degrees below zero and those cold temperatures are always a factor with us needing to keep the firefighters rehabbed and warm, and luckily, we had a building on site that helped out the firefighters immensely," Schroeder said.

Besides Rosemount Firefighters, mutual aid was given by fire departments in Miesville, South Hampton, Vermillion, Randolph and Inver Grove Heights. Apple Valley Fire Department took calls and provided coverage for Rosemount Fire Department during this five-hour fire.

Due to below-zero frigid temperatures and the challenging nature of an evening fire, the chief said it was fortunate there were no injuries from firefighters.

"No one was injured and there were no slips or falls with the ice because it creates a hazardous situation pretty quick," Schroeder said.

The fire departments fought the fire in the freezing temperatures for five hours until around 7:30 a.m.

"Obviously, we rotated the firefighters during the extreme cold because it was dangerous, and we needed to rotate those on the hose line who were exposed too long, and we had to watch out for all the firefighters," Schroeder said.

Rosemount Fire Department is 46 members strong. Schroeder said the department with two firehouses is always looking to recruit new volunteer firefighters.

The fire origin is still under investigation.

"I think any time with these kinds of fires, it takes a while to figure out what started them," Schroeder said.