A massive fire and reported explosions at the Adell Co-op forced village residents to evacuate early Wednesday morning amid fears that hazardous chemicals could be released into the air.
About 200 firefighters from at least 15 area departments were called to the scene, where several agronomy buildings on the northwest end of the complex were destroyed by fire. The buildings, at 607 Mill St., were unoccupied when the fire began just after 3 a.m., and no deaths or serious injuries were reported.
But the fire caused more than $500,000 in damage and destroyed one-third of the sprawling cooperative, which serves more than 400 farms in and around Sheboygan County, said Adell Co-op General Manager Jerry Leick. The fire destroyed a seed warehouse, a chemical warehouse, the agronomy department office and seed treatment equipment, and the liquid fertilizer loading facility was damaged.
The warehouses had little inside — having been emptied from spring planting and not yet refilled — and none of the remaining chemicals were dispersed by the fire, judging by air quality readings during and after the blaze.
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