• Last modified 2775 days ago (Jan. 19, 2012)


Fire destroys abandoned farm house near Hillsboro

Staff writer

An abandoned farm house southeast of Hillsboro caught fire Monday and burned to the ground, possibly the result of an electrical short.

Hillsboro Fire Department and Hillsboro Ambulance were dispatched at 12:42 p.m., responding with the full complement of emergency vehicles.

“The call came across as a structure fully-engulfed,” Hillsboro Fire Chief Ben Steketee said.

Brad Wiens purchased the property on Kanza Road, one-third of a mile north of 160th Road, in 2011 from the Harvey G. Decker Trust. Wiens said the house, which has been unoccupied between 15 and 20 years, was in a state of disrepair.

“There was a guy who said he’d like to take it down for lumber,” Wiens said. “He started, but quit because there was too much termite damage.”

When firefighters arrived, the house was already too far gone to be saved, but a propane tank near the north wall of the structure presented a potential hazard.

“The propane tank was my primary concern when we got here,” Steketee said.

Firefighters concentrated their efforts on preventing the spread of the fire to the propane tank, several outbuildings, elm trees, and brush surrounding the house, and allowed the fire to burn itself out.

A preliminary assessment suggested the fire may have been caused by a branch falling on an electrical wire, Steketee said.

Wiens said the house contained some decorative wood trim he had removed from around the windows, but nothing else of value.

“I’d call it a zero loss,” Wiens said.

Last modified Jan. 19, 2012