HOUSE FIRE Freeman, Menno firefighters battle blaze

On Wednesday morning, July 17, the Freeman Volunteer Fire Department was dispatched to a house fire at 28078 435th Avenue — about 3 miles southwest of Freeman on the west side of what is known locally as the Bridgewater road. The house is owned and used by Schultz Brothers Dairy.

Freeman Fire Chief Cody Fransen said that firefighters, upon arriving on scene shortly after 11 a.m., were worried about the water supply, so the Menno Volunteer Fire Department was called for mutual aid. That tanker truck, coupled with two additional water trucks supplied by Mettler Fertilizer, also of Menno, gave the crews plenty of ammunition with which to fight the fire.

The fire was burning on the top story of the wood-framed house.

Fransen said crews were on the scene fighting the fire until after 2 p.m. Lighting from a storm that rolled through the area is a suspected cause, but the chief could not confirm that early this week. Photos taken by Courier photographer shows the effort put forth by the teams from Freeman and Menno, which included Freeman EMTs.

The house, which had undergone a renovation a year-and-a-half-ago, was occupied by four single men, three of whom work for Schultz Brothers Dairy and the other who works for Ridge View Dairy.

That's Menno firefighter Jacob Mettler, left, and Freeman's Duane Walters on the scene of the July 17 fire.

Freeman EMT Peggy Waltner takes water to firefighters.

Witnesses say lighting stuck the house, according to Vicki Schultz, but the inspector has not officially deemed that the cause. She said the home was covered by insurance.

The men living there are in temporary housing and looking for an apartment.

Schultz said the family does not plan to rebuild.



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