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Published May 15, 2013, 04:13 PM

Minn. barn blaze kills 40 cattle

A barn and 40 head of cattle were destroyed in a fire just north of Perham, Minn., Friday evening.

By: Marie Nitke, Forum News Service

PERHAM, Minn. — A barn and 40 head of cattle were destroyed in a fire just north of Perham, Minn., Friday evening.

Area firefighters were called to the scene of the fire at 5:43 p.m., according to the Otter Tail County Sheriff’s Office.

The property along County Highway 8, owned by Arlin Wanderi, was in the process of being sold to Robert and Amie Ruther. Cattle lost in the fire belonged to both parties. In addition to the cattle, about 100 square bales, a hay shed, corn crib, two tractors, three skid loaders and some other equipment were also lost.

Wanderi said no people were hurt in the fire, and despite fast-moving flames that took everything "within minutes," nine head of cattle were saved.

Perham Fire Chief Mark Schmidt said the barn was about 60 feet by 85 feet in size, and was completely engulfed when firefighters arrived. He said a nearby farmer let firefighters take loads of water from his irrigator well, helping them put the fire out as quickly as possible.

Authorities said the fire was likely started in front of the barn. Wanderi said the skid loaders had just been parked in the barn, and that may have had something to do with it.

Wander was grateful for the quick response ... another five minutes and the fire would have taken more buildings, I'm sure."

New York Mills, Vergas and Wolf Lake fire departments also responded.

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