Manitoba

Lightning strike ignites Hutterite community shop with fire truck inside

A Manitoba Hutterite community woke up to a massive inferno on Monday morning in the building where they store their fire truck.

Decker Hutterite Colony lost vehicles, tools and farm gear but are thankful everyone is OK

Decker Hutterite Colony lost its shop to a massive fire on Monday morning. (Colleen Waldner)

A Manitoba Hutterite community woke up to a massive inferno on Monday morning in the building where they store their fire truck.

Lightning struck the Decker Hutterite Colony shop at around 3:30 a.m. but nobody noticed until almost 5 a.m., said Mark Waldner, principal of the Decker Colony School.

"It was an inferno by then," Waldner said.

Fire crews from four neighbouring communities came out to try and save the shop from an inferno on the Decker Hutterite Colony. (Colleen Waldner)

When the blaze was spotted tearing through the building where the colony stores many vehicles, farm equipment and tools, everyone from the community of about 130 came out to help fight the flames.

"The fire truck was inside. We were luckily able to get that out, with some smoke damage but it was still functional," Waldner said.

"The fire was out of control fairly soon."

Mark Waldner, the Decker Colony School principal, said the community's fire truck was inside the building. (Colleen Waldner)

The community, located about 265 kilometres west of Winnipeg, used the scorched fire truck, two water trucks and water from a nearby stream to fight the flames.

Fire departments from Birtle, Miniota, Shoal Lake and Hamiota helped fight the fire, Waldner said.

"We were able to save about 100 feet of the building — the carpentry end and the large machinery garage," he said.

About five trucks, other farming vehicles, a semi-trailer, the alternator shop and a lot of the community’s tools are all gone. (Colleen Waldner)

But about five trucks, other farming vehicles, a semi-trailer, the alternator shop and a lot of the community's tools are all gone.

"Everything that's associated with running the farm operation and up-keeping our equipment and trucks and vehicles … all of that's gone, lying in a heap of rubble and soot right now," Waldner said.

While they do have some insurance, Waldner said they aren't sure how much of the damage it will cover.

It was a long hard day and there is a lot of work cut out for the small colony in the coming weeks but Waldner said they are thanking God.

"Vehicles are gone, shops gone but it could have been a lot worse — there's no loss of life. That's the key thing. We can always rebuild," Waldner said.

"We can't let the lightning stop us."

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