Fireman Battle Blaze In Sub-Zero WeatherJanuary 02, 2018
Saturday night the Prophetstown Fire Protection District was called out to a structure fire on the Jim and Lois King farm on Highway 78 just south of Prophetstown. The fire was reported about 9:45 by someone driving by. With temperatures below zero, crews arriving on scene found a 80x40 foot shed located approximately 150 feet from the house fully involved in flame.
The shed was used by King to restore antique tractors and contained a large number of tools and equipment that he used in the process. King said he had a tractor in the shed that he had just finished restoring and was preparing to paint. The shed and its contents were a total loss. Firefighters spent approximately two hours on the scene.
Fire Chief Keith Crady said the fire appears to have started in a gas heater used to warm the building. King said he had worked in the shed that day and did not notice any problems.
Crady said the biggest concern for the firefighters were two acetylene tanks that were in the shed. The tanks did not explode but may have vented their gas which contributed to the intensity of the flames. Despite the bitter cold Crady reported that the crews had no serious problems with their equipment. Prophetstown, Lyndon, Hooppole and Tampico Departments all responded to the scene
Over the years King estimated that he has restored around 300 tractors and is widely known in the area for his talent. He said he was not sure what the future will hold in regard to returning to his craft. "I'll have to see what the insurance company says as far as rebuilding, but I do have another shed that I could possibly convert."
The fire rekindled on Sunday evening, which required the return of fire crews.
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