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Blaze destroys building at Emerald Dairy

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A fire at Emerald Dairy on Sunday destroyed a manure digester and the equipment inside.

Firefighters got the call at about 5:30 a.m., said Glenwood City Fire Chief Greg Holden. When crews arrived at the dairy, 2487 Highway G, the digester was fully engulfed in smoke.

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"The cause is still under investigation," Holden said.

The fire appears to have started in an area of the building designed to turn solid manure into dried bedding.

"From there it just spread through to the entire building," Holden said.

The dollar amount associated with the fire is unknown; however, Holden said there was some "very expensive equipment" housed in the building.

The fire was contained to the manure digester, but the building was a total loss, Holden said. No people or animals were injured in the fire.

An excavating company had to be called to removed the building's walls so crews could fight the blaze, Holden said.

Boyceville and United Fire provided mutual aid during the blaze. Crews were on scene until about 11:30 a.m., Holden said.

Emerald Dairy is owned and operated by John Vrieze, who also owns Baldwin Dairy. The dairy in Emerald currently houses 1,200 cows and produces 160,000 pounds of milk a day.

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