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Renters return to burned Milan storage unit to see the damage

MILAN, Illinois — The day after a storage facility burned to the ground, people came to assess the damage and see what’s left.

Among the charred debris at Oak Grove Storage was farming equipment like tractors, a vehicle, and other personal belongings in totes.  The facility held about 30 units divided into about 16 rentable spaces.

One woman said she owned multiple units at the facility.  She told WQAD News 8 that she had a hobby of fixing and selling old furniture, and the facility is where she kept all of her supplies.

Another man said he kept lawn equipment for his business there.

“It was pretty devastating,” said Fire Chief Jerry Mader. “I feel sorry for the people who had their stuff there. It was completely destroyed.”

Several fire departments assisted, bringing tankers of water to help with the size of the fire.

“We call in mutual aid right away and they bring their tankers with water,” said Chief Mader, “so we can get quite a bit of water in a short period of time.”

Mader said they use an aerial truck for industrial fires.

The assistant chief explained that in order to get the right water pressure to start hitting the fire, the department had to make adjustments between fire hydrants and the truck.  The aerial truck takes about 2,000 pounds of water pressure to feed it; the hydrants put out about 100 pounds.

The owner of the storage facility said he bought Oak Grove back in 2012.  He was working with insurance providers after the fire.

There were still hot spots and smoke the day after the fire. Mader said they were monitoring it to make sure it didn’t flare up again.

A fire investigator was on scene the next day, trying to determine the cause of the fire.