Family looks to heal burns left by burnt-down shed

Loud booms rang out through rural Barnesville early Monday morning, Feb. 15, as a shed south of town burst into flames.

Joel Kletsch of Barnesville's shed lies in a crumbled heap after an early morning fire tore through it Monday, Feb. 15. Tanner Robinson / WDAY

BARNESVILLE, Minn. — Smoke continued to rise from the ashes, and a few flames still sputtered underneath what was left of Joel Kletsch's shed after an early-morning fire Monday, Feb. 15.

"(I) heard a couple explosions around 2:00 (a.m.), and I thought it was the ice maker," Kletsch said. "(It) turned out to be the propane tanks."

As the fire raged on, it singed some campers, and the Kletsch family's nearby chicken coop.

While putting out the fire, firefighters also had to battle the freezing cold elements, which made the job more difficult.


"You have to be concerned about your truck freezing up, you have to be concerned about your air packs freezing up, you have to try to find places to thaw that equipment out," said Clay County Sheriff Mark Empting.

Icicles and snow are now painting some of the charred wood, showing the effort of firefighters from Barnesville and surrounding towns, as they fanned the flames.

A small flame flickers underneath what's left of Joel Kletsch of Barnesville's shed Monday morning, Feb. 15. Tanner Robinson / WDAY

"Pelican (Rapids) and Hawley dumped their water to get us caught up, and it worked great," said Barnesville Fire Chief Michael Stetz. "We didn't need their manpower, but they all showed up."

While Kletsch said he's sad about the loss of his campers and chickens, he's thankful for still having things he can't replace.

"This is all material stuff, it doesn't matter," he said about the things he lost in the fire. "The other stuff (like my family) matters, so I think it puts it into perspective, you know, it's just how it is."


As they now stare at a former shed, Kletsch and his family will now try to heal the burns left by the fire, and gradually build everything back up.

"We're just trying to make a list of stuff (to replace) and go from there, so (the fire's) just a bad deal, but we've been through worse," Kletsch said.

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Tanner Robinson is a producer for First News on WDAY-TV.
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