The Tri-County Livestock building in Motley, owned by Joe Varner, burned to the ground Sunday night, Jan. 6.
A passerby on Highway 10/210 saw a haze over the building Sunday at approximately 8:30 p.m. He turned around to investigate and determined the building was on fire. He attempted to call 911, but was unsuccessful in getting through. The Fire Department was reached soon after.
Police Officer Amy Mattison was called at 8:45 p.m. She arrived at 8:47 p.m. and the building was engulfed in heavy smoke. She left the scene at 11:10 p.m.
Thirty-five firefighters from the Motley, Scandia Valley and Staples fire departments responded. They used the quick-fill attachment at the Motley city garage to fill the tanker trucks during the duration of the blaze. Firefighters remained on the scene until about 3:30 a.m.
While there were no animals or people injured, one worker was still in the building when the fire broke out. Police Chief Brian Madison said the worker shut the doors to the arena area to prevent the spread of the fire, but it spread anyway.
John Eischeid, the Tri-County Livestock business manager, said two offices, the kitchen and dining area, the arena and the north shed were destroyed.
“For now, we will be using Rich Prairie Livestock in Genola for our Wednesday sales,” he said.
The cause of the fire is unknown, but it is believed to have started in the attic. The State Fire Marshal and Dave Greig, the Motley fire chief, are investigating the cause of the fire. Greig said when a fire starts in the attic, it’s difficult to get to and control, that’s why other fire departments were called to the fire.
Due to the fire, all sales will be held every Wednesday starting at 11 a.m. at Rich Prairie Livestock in Pierz.