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Collapsed barn burns near Merrifield

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A firefighter moves burning debris at the site of a collapsed barn fire Friday night, May 17, near Merrifield. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch2 / 4
A firefighter directs water on a burning collapsed barn Friday night, May 17, on the 11000 block of Crystal Lake Road near Merrifield. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch3 / 4
Firefighters move debris as a collapsed barn burns Friday night, May 17, on the 11000 block of Crystal Lake Road near Merrifield. Kelly Humphrey / Brainerd Dispatch4 / 4

MERRIFIELD—A runaway brush fire burned a collapsed barn Friday night, May 17, in Lake Edward Township.

Billowing smoke was visible from County Highway 3 above the treeline, and a haze wafted through Merrifield as Nisswa and Mission Township firefighters responded to the blaze, reported at 7:42 p.m. on the 11000 block of Crystal Lake Road.

Nisswa Fire Chief Shawn Bailey said the property owner was burning leaves and wood near the barn, which collapsed about four to five years ago. He told firefighters he went inside to feed his dog, came back out and found the fire had spread to the barn.

"Our county is very dry," Bailey said. "Please be aware of your burn piles that you're burning."

Crow Wing and Cass counties remained in restricted burning, with only variance permits issued. Fire danger across most of the state was considered moderate Friday, when fires start easily and spread at a moderate rate.

Bailey estimated 24 firefighters responded to the scene. North Memorial Ambulance stood by in case of injury and the Crow Wing County Sheriff's Office directed traffic on the highway. The fire did not result in any injuries.

According to county tax records, the property is owned by David and Christina Menter of Minneapolis. A previous Dispatch story shows a cabin-style home was lost to fire on the property in June 2015.

For more photos, go to https://bit.ly/2VIjCym.

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