Tricounty News

Fire destroys rural Watkins barn

Contributed by Julie Bulau

and Marguerite Laabs

John and Louise Schutz lost their barn and another farm building in a fire Sunday, Aug. 5, on their rural Watkins farm. It was reported to the Stearns County Sheriff's Office at about 4:45 p.m.

Both John and Louise work off the farm, John stated, "It was devastating, but would have been more devastating if we relied on it for our livlihood."

Jeff Kuechle noticed smoke coming from the barn and stopped to alert the residents. When he found that no one was home, he released the cattle from the barn. John's brother Harold and nephew Tim came later to secure the cattle out of harm's way. None of the animals were injured.

The fire crews from Watkins, Kimball, Cold Spring and Eden Valley were unable to save the barn and another building. Although smoke was still visible from the hay pulled from the barn, the cause of the fire is unknown.