3 major fires hit area

NEW ULM–The New Ulm Fire Department ended February with a busy night, responding to three separate fires in a ten-hour period.

The first fire resulted in a fatality.

The first call was an apartment fire reported at 9:30 p.m. on 101 Center St. Darcy Mary Moldan, 50, was rescued from her second story bedroom and was transported to the New Ulm Medical Center, but later died from her injuries.

Four other tenants escaped the building. The fire was reported by a tenant coming home. The tenant managed to warn neighbors of the fire and assist them with exiting the building.

Fire Chief Paul Macho estimated that it took firefighters 90 minutes to fully extinguish the fire and clear the scene. NUFD returned to the fire house shortly after midnight, only to receive a second fire call. Macho commented that many of the crew members were still unpacking gear when the second call was made.

The second fire had occurred a residential garage fire at 1116 S. Front St., which was located a mile from the first fire. Firefighters were unable to extinguish the fire in time, and the garage was a complete loss.

Macho admitted the short interval between fires created additional problems for the department. Several of the fire hoses were frozen after extinguishing the fire on Center Street and needed to be changed in order to put out the second fire.

No further fire calls were made in New Ulm, but a mutual aid request came in from Nicollet County at 5:30 a.m. A barn fire had been reported on a farm near Lafayette. The NUFD was one of several Fire Departments to respond to the fire. Others included the Lafayette, Gaylord, Winthrop, Courtland and Nicollet squads. The owners of the farm, Steven and Mary Langhorst, lost three hog barns to the fire. According to the Associated Press, this fire killed about 960 pigs.

Chief Macho acknowledged it was unusual to receive this many calls in such a short time. He said until now, February had been a relatively slow month for the NUFD.

At this time, the causes of all three fires are still under investigation.

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