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Four fire departments respond to a massive barn fire in Verndale

by Trinity Gruenberg

    According to the Verndale Fire Department, they responded to a barn fire at 6:47 p.m. on January 29, on County Road 77,  near the Highway 210 intersection. 

    The Wadena, Hewitt and Staples fire departments were also called in to assist. 

    The fire had engulfed the barn owned by Randy Chock. An excavator was brought in by Duane Moench to remove the tin roof on the barn to prevent it from collapsing while firemen worked to douse the flames. 

    Chock was at home making dinner when he noticed the fire’s glow and called 911.

    He used the 40 x 65 foot barn, built in the 1940s, as a mechanic shop that he was in the process of remodeling. 

    “I had just put in new windows, a door and roof,” said Chock.

    The fire destroyed the building and the attached milkhouse. They were able to remove some vehicles, but two tractors, a car, a tow truck and antiques, handed down through the generations, were destroyed.

    “I lost well over $100,000 worth of tools,” he said.

    Chock is waiting to see the outcome of his insurance claim to see if he will be able to rebuild a shop and continue his livelihood. 

    The fire is believed to be caused by a woodstove or an electric fan heater.

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