Home News Wednesday News, July 13

Wednesday News, July 13



Le Mars Fire Rescue Chief Dave Schipper says the fire and explosion took place in the basement of the home.  The cause of the fire is determined to be accidental, most likely due to a natural gas buildup in the house.  The gas was ignited when a water heater was lit by one of the fire’s victims.

Three persons were injured at the site. The most serious injuries were suffered by the owner of the home, who was in the basement when the explosion occurred.  As of late this afternoon, he is at St Elizabeth’s Hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska.  He is being treated for burn injuries and is in stable condition.

Damages were noted at 14 properties within a 3 block area of the explosion.  Damages range from broken windows and garage doors, to soffits shook loose by the shock of the blast.  Schipper says total damages could top 350-thousand dollars.

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Three people were injured, one seriously, in an explosion that occurred at a Le Mars residence early today (Wednesday).  Le Mars Fire Rescue Chief Dave Schipper says the explosion took place while people were on their way to work.

Three people were hospitalized with injuries suffered in the blast.

Schipper says their investigation points to a possible gas leak as the cause for the explosion.

The explosion caused extensive damage to the home next door.

A third home also caught fire, but it was quickly extinguished. The second home was demolished, as it was too dangerous for firefighters to enter.  Both homes were rental properties, owned by the same landlord. Schipper says their damage assessment will be conducted similar to those done after a tornado touchdown.



A culvert replacement project on Iowa 12 one mile north of Plymouth County Road K-18 requires closing the roadway to traffic from Plymouth county roads C38 to K18 for 3 weeks beginning on Monday, July 18.  During this project, Iowa 12 traffic will be detoured onto Plymouth County roads C-38 and K18.  Motorists are reminded to drive with caution, obey the posted speed limit and other signs in the work area.  Fine increase for violations within road construction zones.



The Plymouth County Sheriff says their last quarter was marked by higher revenues for housing federal inmates at the county jail.  Sheriff Jeff Te Brink told the Board of Supervisors that revenues totaled 135-thousand dollars for the quarter, up 13-thousand dollars from the previous report.  About 114-thousand dollars came from the US Marshals service, which is in charge of incarcerating federal prisoners.  One of the increasing costs at the jail is food.  The county jail’s grocery bill has gone up, just like it has for most households.  Sheriff Te Brink says there is some budget carryover which can help meet the increased costs.  He hasn’t discussed adjusting the per deim from the Marshal’s service, but he will. The current per deim is 75 dollars per say per inmate.  In the last quarter, the Plymouth County jail housed 47 federal inmates.

The Plymouth County Board of Supervisors this morning approved the purchase of a new law enforcement vehicle for the county. The Bearcat is an armored vehicle that is used in rapid response incidents. The Bearcat is manufactured by a firm in Massachusetts, and costs $227,373.08. The Supervisors approved the purchase, to be covered by the county’s share of state covid recovery funds.  Surrounding counties which also make use of the vehicle will contribute to the purchase.



Sioux County Sheriff Dan Altena announced yesterday that he will retire as county Sheriff, effective August 31.  Altena has served Sioux County law enforcement for 43 years, the last 18 as sheriff.  During his tenure as Sheriff, the Department has added a school resource unit, an emergency response unit, and a K-9 program. The county dive team was reorganized, and a public notification system has been installed.  Altena recently won a primary election for the Sioux County Board of Supervisors, running as a Republican.  There were no Democratic candidates listed on the ballot.  The district Altena is seeking election includes the city of Sioux Center.



Some Iowa corn fields were battered or knocked over by last week’s storms and I-S-U Extension Field Agronomist Gentry Sorenson says over the next few days, the upper stalk of the corn may start to shift.

Goose necked corn creates headaches during harvest, as the corn cobs fall or break off before they’re captured by the combine.



The City of Spencer has cut off power to a trailer park near the Clay County Fairgrounds after weeks of wrangling over conditions in the park. City officials initially gave residents of the 26 trailers at the Spencer Trailer Court until July Fifth to vacate the property due to concerns about the electric grid, sewer service, and safety issues like boarded-up egress doors and windows. But the city agreed with the trailer park owner to extend the deadline if electric service was brought up to code in all occupied trailers by Monday. That deadline appears to have been missed. Last week, Spencer Mayor Steve Bomgaars said social service organizations in Clay County had made significant progress in helping residents of the trailer park find alternate housing.



The Iowa Utilities Board has heard from state landowners asking that plans for carbon pipelines be blocked.  Kathy Stockdale of Iowa Falls asked regulators, “Whatever happened to our private property rights?”  James Norris of Red Oak says one of the pipelines would pass right behind his house.  The group attending a hearing Tuesday pointed out that 70 percent of the landowners and farmers in the path of the pipelines have refused to sign easements.  Thirty-four counties have objected to the pipeline projects citing eminent domain abuse, damage to the land, public money usage, and more.