No injuries from early morning fire at RJ Horse Sales, Arena and Event Center in Verndale

The building was cut in half to prevent the fire from spreading.

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There were no injuries in the early morning April 6 fire at the RJ Horse Sales building in Verndale.
Frank Lee / Wadena Pioneer Journal

VERNDALE — There were no injuries from an early morning fire on Thursday, April 6, at RJ Horse Sales, Arena and Event Center.

Verndale firefighter Dan Fisher said the call came in at 4:45 a.m., and the department was on-scene within eight minutes.

Fischer said, upon arrival, the south building, west of the tack store, had flames coming out of the roof. Firefighters fought the fire from the ground.

When the Staples Fire Department arrived with a ladder, firefighters began attacking the fire from above, Fisher said. He added a backhoe was brought in to cut the building in half to prevent the fire from spreading.

While the building is along U.S. Highway 10, there was no need to shut down the main thoroughfare, Fisher said.


Verndale Fire Chief Mike Madsen, and his wife Sarah, own A Bit of Tack, which is located in RJ Horse Sales, Arena and Event Center.

Madsen declined to comment about the fire at this time but noted there was a press release on the fire department's social media page.

The press release stated the Verndale Fire Department was joined by the Wadena, Sebeka, Bertha, Hewitt and Staples fire departments. Also assisting on the call were Astera Health, Ideal Construction and the Wadena County Sheriff's Office.

"Upon arrival of additional manpower, crews were able to extinguish and contain the fire to the initial stall barn," the press release stated. "Crews left the scene at approximately 9 a.m. The fire is still under investigation by the Verndale Fire Department and Minnesota State Fire Marshal."

Fischer commented that he “was really impressed by everyone’s response time” and appreciated the breakfast provided by the Wadena County Sheriff's Office, which provided eggs and bacon, as most had to skip breakfast.

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