Fire Due to Weather

house fire
Fire struck terror in the hearts of our early settlers. Lightning storms were dreaded. Usually as soon as the worst of the storm was over, the family went from window to window scanning the sky for the red glow which meant someone’s building had been hit.

It was noon in the early 1900s when Wes Thees was cultivating his fields…A black & thunderous storm came swiftly out of the northwest. He & his horses raced to the nearby neighbor’s home & waited there for the storm to pass. He was aghast as he looked to the north & saw huge billows of smoke. Everyone piled into a sulky. After reaching the road, they realized that the fire was somewhere over the hill. Going at break-neck speed, they discovered it was Henry Strate’s Barn, stacked with hay, which burned completely to the ground.

However, the house, which was quite close, was saved that day. The pump & pails were busy again!

In 1934, the August Urtel house caught fire from a spark coming out of the chimney. This was around 6 o’clock in the evening & the men were in the barn milking. Neighbors helped neighbors when there was a fire – They formed human bucket brigades. 

During the late 1950’s, Woodbury Township contracted with the East County Line and St. Paul Park Fire Department for fire protection. The idea grew that Woodbury should have its own department and a volunteer Fire Department was incorporated as a non-profit corporation. A few weeks later the Township Board contracted with the newly-formed department for $2,900 annually. Woodbury had its own fire department.