Landfill fire cause still unknown

NEW ULM — The cause of the Brown County Landfill fire Sunday night is still under investigation, according to the New Ulm Fire Department.

Assistant Fire Chief Aaron Wilfahrt said there are a few theories about how the fire began but nothing definitive.

The county landfill is located a few miles south of Essig off County Road 11. The fire call came in around 9 p.m. A large smoke plume was visible for several miles.

Fire fighters from New Ulm, Sleepy Eye and Hanska all responded to the fire, as well as a Mathiowetz company emergency response team. The Mathiowetz response team was able to assist by using bulldozers to push dirt onto the trash fire, which helped smother the flame.

Wilfahrt said through collaborative efforts, the fire was under control within the first hour and extinguished within the next hour.

Wilfahrt said the fire was a challenge to get under control because it was large. The landfill trash pile was around 70 feet tall when the fire started.

Because this was trash, numerous combustible items were present which fed the fire. Fortunately, there were no strong winds Sunday night that could have spread the fire further. This limited the fire to landfill trash, which was planned to be buried anyway. This was a rare fire in which there was no damage to property.

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