(REXBURG, ID) — At 5:48 pm on Monday, Madison Fire Department was dispatched to a two-acre sawdust pile on fire at Basic American Foods located at 40 E. 7th North in Rexburg. The fire had been smoldering for some time and was being monitored by employees of Basic American Foods. As the wind speeds increased in the area, the fire grew out of control. The fire also extended to several exposures in the area including a warehouse, three homes in a neighboring trailer park, and a convenience store. All the structures involved sustained moderate to minor damage.
The trailer park east of the fire was evacuated. The residents were given temporary shelter at Madison Junior High and dinner was provided for the families affected. The American Red Cross was also contacted to assist during this evacuation period. One firefighter sustained an eye injury due to blowing debris—no other injuries were reported.
“Initially, fire suppression efforts were hampered by exceedingly high winds,” stated Madison Fire Department Chief Corey Child. “As the wind died down we got the upper hand on the six fires.”
Madison Fire Department dispatched 10 trucks and 56 full-time and paid call personnel to contain the fire. The fire department also pulled additional units from their Sugar City and Archer stations to assist with fire suppression efforts.
Madison Sheriff’s Department and the Rexburg Police Department closed North Second East for the majority of the fire due to low visibility and fire apparatus accessing the fire scene. The fire was declared under control at approximately 9:30 pm, but crews remained on the scene to mop up and look for hot spots until 11:00 pm.
A couple local businesses donated food items to assist firefighting efforts, including Domino’s Pizza and Pizza Pie Cafe.
Brett Crandall, BYU-Idaho Communications
Kendra Evensen, Idaho State Journal
Ruth Brown, Idaho Press-Tribune