Evacuated Battle Creek Residents May Return to Their Homes (audio & video)
BATTLE CREEK - High winds and a grass fire fire northwest of Battle Creek combined to place the Madison County community's west side in danger early Sunday afternoon. Battle Creek and Madison County officials strongly recommended residents of West Battle Creek to evacuate their homes. By 3 p.m., the smell of smoke filled the air and ashes fell from the sky like snowflakes. West Battle Creek resident Paige Barry said she had retrieved photos and other valuables before retreating from her home. Others hosed down their homes and gathered valuables. At about 3:30 p.m., NewsTalk WJAG talked with Battle Creek Fire Chief Cleon Schwede who said the fire had been mostly contained. At 5:15 p.m. the evacuation was lifted and residents were able to return to their homes. A spokesperson for the Madison County Sheriff's Department said fire officials would remain on the scene. Firefighters from a number of neighboring towns helped the Battle Creek Fire Department including Norfolk, Madison, Hadar, Tilden, Meadow Grove, Neligh, Oakdale and Newman Grove. Meanwhile, Pierce firefighters were busy battling their own grass fire. There were no reported injuries to civilians or firefighters.