Last Tuesday brought two fires to the area, one destroying a machine shop and the other displacing at least one apartment tenant.
No injuries were reported.
Around 1 a.m. Feb. 16, Steve Lenzen heard three loud bangs outside his home just outside Chaska, where he’s lived his whole 55-year life.
“I looked out the window and the flames were coming out of the (shed’s) small service door, and by the time I called 911 it was coming out of the roof already,” he said.
According to the family and Carver Fire Chief Cally Trimbo, the 46-by-40-foot machine shop was completely destroyed on the 6500 block of Dahlgren Road.
“The shed and all its contents was a total loss,” Trimbo said of the 39-year-old structure.
Those contents included tools and farming equipment like a tractor, loader, and skid loader for private use, Lenzen said. Trimbo said the cause is still being investigated.
A dozen fire departments responded to the fire, Trimbo said, due to the cold winter night: 19 degrees below zero.
“It was just extremely challenging because of the frigid temperatures,” Trimbo said, noting crews had to be sent out in shifts. “That was a challenge, keeping the crews warm and keeping the trucks from freezing.”
Crews cleared the scene around 8 a.m.
Lenzen said another machine shed next to it also caught fire but was put out quickly. The house, 30 feet away, was untouched by the fire.
He said insurance won’t be “nearly enough” to cover the damage, but they’re still waiting for an investigation and itemized damage list. For now, neighbors have stepped up to bring tools and food over.
Brother Jeff Lenzen said he estimates repair costs could total up to $400,000.
“We’re gonna rebuild. It’s gone. We have to rebuild eventually. All the contents are a total loss. Right now, it’s all frozen. It’s all a big chunk of ice,” he said. “It’s a tough blow, but nobody got hurt … It could have been a lot worse.”
Departments from Carver, Chaska, Chanhassen, Cologne, Victoria, Shakopee, Eden Prairie, Norwood Young America, Waconia, Jordan, Hamburg and Belle Plaine responded. Other present services included Ridgeview ambulances, the Carver County Sheriff’s Office, Xcel Energy, Carver County Public Works, the city of Carver Public Services, and Henning Excavation.
Later that day, just before 10 p.m., Chaska firefighters were called to Waybury Apartments on the 110000 block of Geske Road in Chaska.
Nobody was injured, but three tenants have been displaced and are currently staying with family members.
“It appears to have started on the exterior on the deck,” Gravalin said, but noted the cause is still under investigation.
Crews were at the subsidized Section 8 units for a couple of hours to put out the fire, which started on the second floor and moved to the third floor.
“It got into a wall cavity, too, so it just made it a little more challenging for us to access and distinguish,” Gravalin said.
The fire department worked with Shelter Corporation over a decade ago, he said. The real estate management company used to own the building and used city-loaned funds to install sprinklers.
“Without those sprinklers, there's no doubt the outcome would have been far worse in not just the building, but we may have had certainly injuries as well as fatalities,” Gravalin said.