No people, animals hurt in early-morning barn fire

Jordan Rusche, Editor-in-Chief

A fire broke out Tuesday morning in one of the barns at South Dakota State University’s Dairy Research and Training Facility located north of Brookings.

“The call came in a little after … 8 this morning,” Mike Lockrem, director of University Marketing and Communications, said. “I think the all-clear was given by 9:30.”

The fire was reported at 8:06 a.m., according to the media release from the Brookings County Sheriff’s Department. The SDSU University Police, Brookings Fire Department, Brookings Ambulance and Volga Fire Department were also on the scene. 

“Upon arrival, flames were visible from the north side of the building,” the press release read.

Employees at the facility had already evacuated by the time emergency responders arrived and had begun releasing the dairy cattle from the barn. No injuries to either staff or livestock were reported after the fire was extinguished.

The cause of the fire appeared to originate in a manure pumping room, where it then spread to other parts of the barn. According to the Sheriff’s Department, the total extent of the damage is unknown at this point. 

“This incident remains under investigation with the Brookings County Sheriff’s Office,” the release read.

The Dairy Research and Training Facility is used as a teaching facility for graduate and undergraduate dairy and food science students, according to SDSU’s website.

The facility is responsible for producing the milk used at the SDSU Dairy Plant on campus. Other areas of study include nutrition experiments, herd management strategies and more.

Lockrem says he is unsure what the plan going forward will be for continued use of the farm.

“I think right now more than anything; they are relocating the cattle to a secure location,” he said.

The Collegian will continue to monitor this story as it develops.