Grain dryer fire

Owatonna firefighters work to extinguish a fire inside a grain dryer on Tuesday morning. (Al Strain/People’s Press)

HAVANA TOWNSHIP — A load of grain was lost after a fire started in a grain dryer on Tuesday morning, prompting a response from the Owatonna Fire Department.

The fire was called in just before 9:15 a.m. Tuesday on the 8200 block of 18th Street Southeast, to the east of Havana Township.

OFD Commander Travis Ahrens said the fire started in the dryer, but the cause wasn’t clear.

“It’s still under investigation as far as the cause and why it started on fire. It’s so hard to tell with this type of equipment,” Ahrens said.

When firefighters arrived, they found the machine producing light smoke, which may have been steam. There were no flames visible when crews arrived.

“It was just burning from the inside. It’s a grain, so it’s just going to burn and sit there,” Ahrens said.

Firefighters were forced to cut open parts of the dryer to get the grain out of the machine and extinguish it. Ahrens said the parts of the machine cut by firefighters can be repaired, but a majority of the grain inside the dryer was a loss. The fire caused no injuries.

The fire department cleared the scene at about 11:15, roughly two hours after the original call came in. Assisting the fire department were deputies from the Steele County Sheriff’s Office and crews from Steele-Waseca Electric Cooperative.

Reach reporter Al Strain at 444-2376 or follow him on

Reach reporter Al Strain at 444-2376 or follow him on

I am a reporter for the Owatonna People's Press covering cops, courts, the city beat, business, agriculture and features. I graduated from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa in May of 2012. While in college I majored in Communication Arts with an emphasis

Load comments