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14 Claremontfire eg

CLAREMONT — Firefighters from Owatonna kept a blaze in a dilapidated barn from spreading Friday night, with some assistance from a rainstorm.

The barn was on the Dale Levy farm, located in rural Claremont about 4 miles west of that town and about 8 miles southwest of Owatonna city limits.

"It was fully engulfed when we got there," said Owatonna Fire Department shift Commander Marlin Kath, who was on duty Sunday.

The small barn was vacant and contained only some loose hay, he said.

However, firefighters led by shift Commander Kevin Sedivy, as well as timely rain, combined to keep flames away from one of two nearby houses.

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"We were able to stop it before it got there," Kath said. Some flames already had spread to grass, and then rain passed through and wet down some tall grass at the scene.

Sixteen Owatonna firefighters fought the blaze with water from tank trucks. At one point, officials at the scene called for more water from Claremont’s volunteer fire department, but the call was canceled.

No one was home at the Levy house at the time. The alarm was phoned in just before 9:30 p.m. Friday by three callers, including at least one local resident.

The ignition source for the fire was not obvious. "We haven’t determined a cause yet," Kath said. The Owatonna fire marshal is investigating.

The barn was a total loss; no dollar estimate of damage was available Sunday.

The site of the fire was at the northeast corner of Minnesota Highway 16 (84th Avenue Southeast) and 38th Street Southeast in Havana Township, in Steele County.

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