Cattle safe, no injuries in Highway 73 blaze
Investigators: Skid loader may have ignited hay
Officials said no people or animals were injured in a fire that spanned multiple fire buildings Tuesday morning.
State Highway 73 was closed in both directions at County Road V in the town of York for about four hours in the morning.
The Dane County Sheriff's Office said a passerby reported a shed fire at 7663 Highway 73 at about 6:30 a.m.
When emergency responders arrived, they found a storage shed containing two skid loaders and some hay engulfed in flames, according to the report. The sheriff's office said the wind carried the flames to a nearby barn occupied by cattle.
The approximately 300 cattle were evacuated safely without injuries and they were moved by trailers to other area farms with the help of neighbors, according to the report. By 8:30 a.m. the fire was out and firefighters were working on extinguishing hot spots.
The Columbus fire chief told News 3 crews had a number of challenges fighting the fire: wind, nearby liquid propane tank and power lines. The sheriff said investigators believe one of the skid loaders may have started the hay on fire.
The farm is owned and occupied by Bill Beitz, according to the release.
The incident remains under investigation.
Traffic officials said the highway closure was lifted at about 10:22 a.m.
Elise Schaffer, spokeswoman for the Dane County sheriff, said damages were estimated at $400,000.
Fire departments from Columbus, Marshall, Sun Prairie, Cottage Grove, Deerfield, DeForest, Fall River and Portland/Waterloo/Milford/Shields responded to the blaze, in addition to Dane County Sheriff's deputies, the report noted.
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