Updated to include further details including comments from Dayton Fire Chief Jason Mickelson.
A 4-alarm fire broke out this afternoon in Dayton drawing crews from a dozen fire departments. Eyewitness reports say the fire was ablaze around 3 p.m. Thursday, May 2, on Dayton resident Adrian Dahlheimer’s property on North Diamond Lake Road, just north of Zanzibar Lane. No injuries are reported.
Dahlheimer owns 68 acres on the east side of North Diamond Lake Road and 40 acres on the west side. He said he was cutting apart a hay bale with a chainsaw on the 68 acre portion of land when it somehow caught on fire.
“I stomped it out in the mud and thought I got it out,” Dahlheimer said. He said he then threw it in the feed barn. “There must have still been a spark in there.”
This occurred around 10 a.m. Dahlheimer left the property and received a call later in the day to inform him smoke was coming from his land.
Smoke was reportedly seen from as far away as Hwy. 610 and Bass Lake Road in Maple Grove.
Due to the lack of city water in the vicinity several tanker trucks from the various responding departments took turns transporting water from a hydrant in the Rogers neighborhood of Brockton Meadows and a hydrant at Rogers Middle School, about 2 miles down the road. Crews are emptying the water from the tanker trucks into at least three holding tanks to be used to fight the fire. They used at least 55,000 gallons of water to fight the fire according to a conservative estimate provided by Dayton Fire Chief Jason Mickelson.
The fire was initially called a two-alarm fire but eventually increased to four-alarm because of the unique circumstances of dealing with the extra debris and material on the property as well as visual challenges in locating areas in which the fire was burning. The crew of the Rogers’ $1.3 million ladder truck fought the fire from about 50 feet above. Electricity was cut in the area to protect fire fighters on the ladder truck.
Crews worked until 9:30 p.m. clearing debris and looking for smoldering areas. Dayton’s Assistant Fire Chief Gary Dotseth checked on the property Friday morning and called a crew back to extinguish an area that Dotseth noticed had rekindled. They were on scene from about 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Friday, May 2.
Dahlheimer said after the fire in 2002 that took down the house on the property, he had been living in a trailer on the property. However, with 3 trailers on the property, it is unclear if that was the same RV trailer that trailer was engulfed in flames this afternoon along with other structures and material located on the property. Buildings on the property that burned down include what Dahlheimer referred to as his machine shed and sheep barn which housed 38 sheep. All the sheep were accounted for after the fire.
In addition to the unaffected trailers, there are two structures still standing on the property and numerous vehicles including farm equipment and airplanes.
This is third fire on the property. In 1984 a barn burned down and in 2002 a New Year’s fire destroyed the original homestead, which Dahlheimer said was built in 1851. Dahlheimer said he has lived on the property in the 16200 block of North Diamond Lake Road since 1938.
Officials are directing traffic away from the road as it is temporarily closed. Crews set up a rehab area in neighbors Sam and Terry Bodell’s driveway across the street. This is an area providing hydration and nourishment for fire fighters as their work is expected to continue for a number of hours into the evening.
Responding departments witnessed at the scene include Dayton, Anoka-Champlin, Brooklyn Park, Rogers, St. Michael, Albertville, Maple Grove, Loretto, Hanover, Osseo, Hamel, Ramsey, St. Louis Park, Andover and West Metro Fire.
According to Mickelson, the official cause of the fire has not yet been determined and remains under investigation.
Contact Mindy Mateuszczyk at firstname.lastname@example.org