Another Minnesota Grain Elevator Up in Flames
July 10, 2008
By Dawn Schuett
Post-Bulletin, Rochester MN
KENYON -- Charred grain still crackled from the heat Thursday in a pile of smoldering rubble the day after a fire at Bombay Elevator Inc.
Photo: Fire destroyed part of the Bombay Grain Elavator Wednesday afternoon. The fire was reported shortly after 4:15 p.m. Firefighters from five surrounding communities fought the blaze. (Jerry Olson/ Post-Bulletin)
The blaze Wednesday destroyed the elevator and its office, but it didn't stop work for long at the family-owned business.
"It's a setback," Steve Boyum, who owns the elevator with his brother, Bruce, said Thursday morning, but business is resuming. There was no damage to two quonset huts and more than a dozen grain bins at the site. With electricity and phone service restored, employees were again grinding feed on Thursday. The cause of the fire is being investigated. No dollar amount of the damage was available yet.
The Boyums bought the grain elevator in 1990, but its history goes back more than 100 years. The elevator was built in 1903 and expanded after a competing elevator nearby was moved to the location.
The elevator and a few houses are all that exist in Bombay, an unincorporated Goodhue County town 34 miles northwest of Rochester between Kenyon and Wanamingo.
Many neighbors and customers visited the scene or called the Boyums after hearing about the fire, a sign of support appreciated by the family.
"It's really nice when your neighbors and customers come to offer a helping hand," said Steve Boyum, who added that he's grateful for the volunteer fire departments in the area that responded to the fire. Firefighters responded from at least six communities including Kenyon, Wanamingo, Zumbrota, West Concord, Cannon Falls and Randolph.
Photo: Firefighters douse a fire at the Bombay Grain Elavator on Wednesday afternoon. The fire was reported shortly after 4 p.m. Firefighters from five towns fought the blaze. (Jerry Olson/ Post-Bulletin)
Neighbor Myron Heggedahl was at the elevator Thursday, just as he is nearly every morning to chat with employees and farmers about current events.
"I come here to further my education," said Heggedahl, a retired farmer.
A week shy of 91, Heggedahl has been around for much of the elevator's existence and is relieved to know it will recover from the fire.
It's one of the few family-owned elevators remaining in Minnesota. Manager Richard Nystuen, who's worked at the elevator since 1996, is one of four employees. The business has about 120 customers, Nystuen said. A temporary office will be brought to the site before the weekend to serve them.
"We're going to get set up and continue to operate a feed business," Nystuen said.