Flames destroyed much of Jerry’s Welding, a business in downtown Chokio, Thursday morning, as the owners looked on from the snow-spotted sidelines. The Chokio Fire Department, led by Fire Chief Bruce Quackenbush; Chokio First Responders; the Morris Fire Department; and the Stevens County Sherriff’s Office all responded to the fire, creating a large crew to douse the flames. Jerry Gustafson, the owner of the shop, looked on as fire crews standing on raised front-end tractor loaders tore siding away from the rafters and side of the building to spray water into the smoldering frame. The rectangular building, showed signs of damage from front to back, with the roof already precariously sinking in.
Mrs. Gustafson reports that her husband went to the shop this morning to start the furnace, as he usually did, and came home again while the shop heated up. Fire alarms alerted them, and they went to the shop to find crews already at work on the flames. The fire department has not released an official cause of fire report or an estimation of the damage.