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Fire sparked by oil burner guts large shed in Watertown, causes $1.1M damage

Shed fire in Watertown

WATERTOWN -- Firefighters responded on Monday, Feb. 25 to a fire in a large shed at a farming equipment company on Frohling Road in Watertown. Officials said the fire at Waupun Equipment grew quickly, and with combustible materials nearby like propane, it's amazing no one was hurt.

The 911 call for this incident came in around 4:20 a.m. The Watertown Fire Department responded to the scene with nine firefighters. The first arriving unit on scene reported fire through the roof of a building -- approximately 50 feet by 100 feet.

Greg Kast

"I got a phone call at approximately 6 o'clock," said Greg Kast, co-owner of Waupun Equipment. "Somebody could've been killed and it would've been a lot worse, but a building burned down and iron, you can replace. I'm just thankful."

While firefighters battled the flames, State Highway 19 (W. Main Street) was shut down from Welsh Road to the Highway 26 bypass. That stretch of road reopened around 7:30 a.m., according to officials.

Watertown structure fire (Credit: Terry Bear)

The main body of fire was extinguished around 5:45 a.m. The source of the fire was an oil burner in the building.

"The back corner is where it started. There's about 10 pieces of farm equipment -- tractors and skid loaders, a hay bin," said Kast.

Damage estimates were about $1.1 million. Heavy winds and low temperatures were factors in putting this fire out. Firefighters from 10 departments battled the blaze.

"There's a lot of good people out in the world. A lot of times you hear about the bad in newscasts, but there's a lot of good people out there, that when the time arises, they're there to help you out," said Kast.

Nearby business owners and others also stepped up to help.

"Our two neighboring competing dealers offered to help right away, and we had customers come in and offer food," said Kast. "No injuries -- thank God for that."

Waupun Equipment operations were being transferred temporarily to the Waupun location -- and Kast said he wanted his customers to know they remain open for business.

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