Fire Destroys Potato Shed

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Fri, January 4 2013 at 4:03 PM, Updated: Fri, January 4 2013 at 4:17 PM

Investigators are trying to pinpoint the cause of a fire that caused over a million dollars worth of damage to a potato shed near Bonanza.

The fire broke out shortly before eight Thursday morning at a potato shed on Yonna Drive. 

Klamath County Fire District #5 Chief Darryl Longoria says it appears that the fire began in a shop area...

"We did an interior attack, found that there was a pickup on fire inside, and the flames were already up into the eaves."

Chief Longoria adds that extremely cold weather hampered the suppression efforts...

"It was between zero and five below.  And after a while, engines start freezing up, hoses start freezing up.  As long as you keep the water flowing you're okay, but when you have to swap tenders, that's when we had the problems."

Once the roof trusses began to fail, firefighters pulled back due to safety concerns. 

Chief Longoria says that the building, and the potato crop inside are a total loss...

"From what I heard yesterday there's roughly 100 thousand pounds of potatoes in there that's lost."

The Chief plans to meet with insurance, and state fire investigators on Monday.  "We'll see if we can peel back some of the metal, and get in and find a precise cause of the fire."

Much of the smoke coming from the fire is actually steam from the potatoes.  The fire is expected to smolder for several more days.

The Klamath Falls Herald and News quotes Bonanza Fire Chief Bob Tyree as saying the fire may have started when a diesel-burning heater was knocked over.

There were no injuries reported as a result of the fire.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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