Humboldt firefighters battle hot, gusty winds to control a shed fire on 5th Street North in Dakota City late Thursday afternoon. One Dakota City man was sent to the hospital with undisclosed possible injuries. Humboldt Independent photo by Kent Thompson.

Car backfire ignites D.C. shed
Dakota City barber injured

By Kent Thompson
The calm of a warm late summer afternoon came to an abrupt end Thursday when Humboldt County emergency personnel were dispatched to a fire in Dakota City.
The fire broke out in a 24-foot by 30-foot storage shed on 5th Street North, one half block north of Trinkets and Treasures, on the east side of the street.
According to Humboldt Fire Chief Jim Gronbach, Don Ukena of Dakota City, owner of the garage, was in the building working on one of his vintage autos when the car backfired, causing sparks, which ignited contents inside the building.
Ukena received unspecified injuries, but was able to escape the building and call in the fire, prior to being transported to Humboldt County Memorial Hospital (HCMH) by EMS personnel. There is no word on Ukena’s condition at this time.
Ukena is the owner/operator of Roffler Family Hair Center on Main Street in Dakota City.
Gronbach said the Humboldt Fire Department received the call at 5:23 p.m. By the time fire crews arrived a few minutes later, the wood and steel frame shed was fully engulfed.
“The building and its contents are a total loss,” Gronbach said. He estimated the structural damage at $30,000. He reported two classic autos in the building and one outside, all receiving severe damage.
“Our main goal was to knock down the flames and keep them from spreading to the north to other nearby homes,” Gronbach said.
The Humboldt Fire Department was able to bring the blaze under control within 10-15 minutes and were still on the scene at the time of this report (6:40 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 28).
The fire department was assisted at the scene by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, Humboldt Police, HCMH Ambulance and First Responders.
It was a busy afternoon for emergency personnel, during the shed fire, the Humboldt Police Department and EMS were paged to a personal injury accident on 13th Street South near the entrance to Pasquale’s Italian Restaurant. The unidentified party was not believed to be seriously injured.
To see more photos and information on this and other news, see an upcoming issue of The Humboldt Independent. Read for breaking news coverage.

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