A State Fire Marshal’s Office investigator remained on the scene Sunday afternoon investigating a morning blaze that destroyed Scribner Grain.
Scribner Fire Chief Ken Thomas said his crews Sunday afternoon were basically standing by and waiting for insurance adjusters and investigators to show up before further digging into the remaining hot spots at the elevator facility along U.S. Highway 275 on the south edge of downtown Scribner.
“We’re actually going back and forth now,” Thomas said. “We’re giving our crew a rest right now. … Once the insurance adjuster gets there, then we’ll probably tear some more of the building apart so we can get at those hot spots.”
Firefighters expected to be on the scene into Sunday night.
The Scribner Volunteer Fire Department rushed to the scene after dispatchers received multiple reports of the major fire at about 7:06 a.m.
By 9 a.m., much of the fire had been knocked down by firefighters from Scribner, Snyder and Hooper.
“Just the size of the building alone,” Thomas said, “plus there’s feed in the building that’s burning and wood and tons of cardboard. They bagged their feed there so there’s feed bags there that were on fire; those things just burn and burn. There’s tons of bags full of seed that are still on fire, it burns forever.”
In addition to hooking up to hydrants in the area, firefighters had tankers bring additional water to the scene.
Heavy equipment was brought in to push over portions of the facility, which appeared to be a total loss.
Smoke from the blaze could be seen as far away as Rosedale Road just north of Fremont, and was so low and dense that it prompted closure of U.S. 275 through Scribner throughout the morning.
“The smoke was just so close to the ground, it was simply blocking off the highway, you couldn’t see. We called in for assistance to have the highway shut down, which was done, and then the wind shifted and went in a different direction, which helped that situation,” Thomas said.
Highway traffic was also diverted while one leg of the elevator, which was threatening to collapse onto the nearby highway, was knocked down.
Thomas said collapse threats and multiple explosions within the structure, including propane tanks and truck tires, kept firefighters at a distance. No injuries were reported.
Scribner Grain is a family owner business operated by Dennis and Mike Baumert, information on Scribner’s website stated. It offers a wide range of services, including gain storage, a complete feed mill operation, fertilizer service, custom spraying and livestock hauling.
Sunday’s fire brought out several Scribner residents, who watched and took photos of the blaze. Water and snacks were provided to firefighters.