ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Cleanup underway in Madison, Minnesota, after fire destroys John Deere dealership

Fire destroyed Midwest Machinery and forced temporary evacuation of residents near the site along Minnesota Highway 40 in Madison.

Midwest Machinery 032223 001.jpg
A man talks on the phone Wednesday, March 22, 2023, while surveying the damage following a fire that broke out Tuesday night at Midwest Machinery in Madison, Minnesota.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

MADISON β€” The Madison Fire Department and investigators remained on the scene much of the day Wednesday in the aftermath of a fire that destroyed the primary offices and shop building of Midwest Machinery , a John Deere dealership in Madison.

No one was injured in the blaze which was first reported at 7:12 p.m. Tuesday, March 21. Firefighters battled the fire through the night, and there were still smoldering hot spots in the charred rubble during the afternoon on Wednesday. The Madison Fire Department remained on site into Wednesday evening.

Fire at Midwest Machinery in Madison, Minnesota, that began Tuesday, March 21, 2023, and continued through the next day.
Firefighters battle a blaze at Midwest Machinery in Madison, Minnesota. The fire was reported Tuesday evening, March 21, 2023, and firefighters remained at the scene Wednesday knocking down hotspots.
Contributed / Lydia Rebehn of The Western Guard

Work was getting underway on Wednesday to take down some of the standing rubble, according to Blain Johnson, emergency management director for Lac qui Parle County . He said that more than 100 personnel from 25 different agencies assisted in fighting the fire and the cleanup efforts.

People from 17 residences were evacuated from their homes as a black plume of smoke wafted from the fire on Tuesday evening. The fire could be smelled as far as 10 miles from the town, according to Johnson.

Fire at Midwest Machinery in Madison, Minnesota, that began Tuesday, March 21, 2023, and continued through the next day.
Smoke pours from the fire at Midwest Machinery in Madison, Minnesota. Nearby residences were evacuated Tuesday evening due to smoke and inhalation concerns. The residents were able to return home late Tuesday night even as firefighters continued their efforts into Wednesday morning.
Contributed / Adam Conroy of The Western Guard

A citywide water restriction was requested in order to help firefighters put out the major fire that night. The emergency manager said water levels were returning to normal on Wednesday and the city was no longer asking residents to limit their water use.

ADVERTISEMENT

Midwest Machinery 032223 002.jpg
People walk the property Wednesday, March 22, 2023, at Midwest Machinery following a large-scale fire that started Tuesday night at the Madison-based business.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

The state fire marshal was on site as part of the investigation into the cause, which was not known Wednesday, but the fire is believed to have started in the main building. The full extent of damage is being assessed.

Midwest Machinery did not immediately return a call seeking additional information.

Madison city and Lac qui Parle County officials were planning to meet with the owners of Midwest Machinery on Thursday to learn about efforts to rebuild the facility and what help might be needed. The large implement service and sales dealership is one of the community's largest employers.

Midwest Machinery, Madison, Minn., March 21, 2023 - Photo 3
A view of Midwest Implement building early Wednesday morning, March 22, 2023, following a fire at its location in Madison, Minnesota.
Contributed / Lac qui Parle County Emergency Management

The blaze is the largest in the community since the 1987 fire that destroyed much of the former Madison High School.

The Madison Fire Department called for mutual aid from neighboring departments as it arrived at the scene. The blaze quickly engulfed the building. A local gas line was ruptured and made it more difficult for firefighters, according to information from Lac qui Parle County Emergency Management and the Sheriff's Office.

Midwest Machinery, Madison, Minn., March 21, 2023 - Photo 2
Firefighters from multiple fire departments from western Minnesota and eastern South Dakota fight the fire Tuesday night, March 21, 2023, at Midwest Machinery in Madison, Minnesota.
Contributed / Lac qui Parle County Emergency Management

The residents in homes and two apartments near the fire scene were evacuated due to smoke and inhalation concerns. A reunification center was set up at Madison Mercantile for evacuees to meet and make lodging plans and receive updates from friends and family.

More by Tom Cherveny:
A total of $6.1 million is needed to complete a trail connection from Sibley State Park to the Glacial Lakes State Trail. Rep. Dave Baker will seek remainder of the needed funding next session.
The Renville County Parks and Trails Committee recommends surveying the site of Anderson Lake Park and offering park parcels for sale to neighboring landowners.
Chippewa County Park Board looks at what could be offered on land sought for county park
Safety, eminent domain and tile lines were top issues at public meetings regarding the Summit Carbon Solutions pipeline. Climate denial is emerging as yet another issue in conversations with some landowners.

Kris Shelstad, owner of the Mercantile, said the evacuees were treated to fresh-brewed coffee and doughnuts delivered by the local Casey's General Store. They received the "all clear" to go home from Sheriff Allen Anderson shortly after 11 p.m. Tuesday. All had already arranged for places to stay if they would not have been able to return to their homes, she said.

Park Avenue at the fire site remains barricaded. The area around the dealership will remain secured as cleanup gets underway.

ADVERTISEMENT

Midwest Machinery 032223 005.jpg
Heaps of rubble from the fire that destroyed the primary offices and shop building of Midwest Machinery in Madison, Minnesota, are piled along the western edge of the facility on Wednesday, March 22, 2023.
Macy Moore / West Central Tribune

According to a news release sent out early Wednesday, the following agencies responded: Madison Fire, Madison Ambulance, city of Madison, Lac qui Parle County Sheriff’s Office, Lac qui Parle County Emergency Management, Countryside Public Health, Dawson Fire, Marietta Fire, Marietta Ambulance, Montevideo Fire, Ortonville Fire, Bellingham Fire, Appleton Fire, Canby Fire, Nassau Fire, Milan Fire, Boyd Fire and Odessa Fire, all from Minnesota; the Minnesota Highway Patrol; and South Dakota agencies responding included Big Stone Fire, Revillo Fire, Milbank Fire and Grant County, South Dakota, Emergency Management.

Madison Machinery building in Madison, Minnesota pre-2023
A pre-2023 file photo of the Midwest Machinery building in Madison, Minnesota.
Contributed / Midwest Machinery website

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoors reporter for the West Central Tribune.
He has been a reporter with the West Central Tribune since 1993.

Cherveny can be reached via email at tcherveny@wctrib.com or by phone at 320-214-4335.
What To Read Next
Get Local

ADVERTISEMENT