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Devastating fires in LuVerne, Thor

Area fire departments haven’t gotten much sleep the last two evenings, as early morning fires struck the communities of LuVerne early Wednesday morning, and a residential home in Thor early Thursday morning.
LuVerne Fire Chief Dave McPeak reported that the department was called to the NEW Cooperative in LuVerne shortly before midnight Tuesday evening, for a wood and steel granary structure that was in the process of being demolished.
McPeak said flames were already shooting from headhouse part of the structure when fire crews arrived.
Humboldt County Sheriff Dean Kruger said he could see a small flame from his residence south of Hardy. “A few minutes later it was like a large orange ball,” the sheriff said.
LuVerne contacted several area fire departments for mutual aid, largely for water. Crews from Humboldt, Bode, Gilmore City, Livermore, Goldfield, Renwick, Kanawha, Corwith and Hardy responded to the call.
Because of the need to protect other co-op buildings and residential properties in the area, some residences on 4th Street South, southeast of the elevator were evacuated.
Amy Pingle, communications coordinator for NEW Cooperative in Fort Dodge, reported that the wood elevator hadn’t been used for the storage of grain for several years.
“We had hired an outside contractor and they were in the process of dismantling the structure at the time of the fire. We are grateful to the local fire departments for their prompt response and grateful no one was hurt,” Pingle told the Independent.
McPeak said cutting torches used by the demolition crew may have started a spark that led to the fire.
No other buildings on the co-op site were damaged.
Pingle offered no dollar estimate of damage.
Fire and emergency crews were on the scene about 3.5 to 4 hours.
Early Thursday morning, the Thor Fire Department was called to a house on Lill Street for a blaze that was fully engulfed, according to Thor Fire Chief Kevin Olson. The call was received about 1:30 a.m.
“It started in the front porch area of the home and quickly spread through the walls and into the attic,” Olson said.
The occupant of the home Matthew S. Humphrey, was not at home when the fire broke out.
The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO) said Humphrey told them he may have dropped a lit cigarette in a couch, and then carried the couch outside.
Olson said a couch cushion may have started the fire, “we’re not exactly sure at this point.”
Humboldt and Renwick fire departments lent assistance with manpower and water. Firefighters were on the scene for 3.5 hours, Olson said.
The department was called back at 6:20 a.m. Thursday morning for a small fire that had rekindled in the roof, the Thor fire chief said.
The home was not insured the HCSO reported.
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