Monette Co-Op suffers heavy damage to seed cotton

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monette Co-Op Inc. suffered a potential three-quarter million dollar seed cotton loss Saturday as fire damaged approximately 85 cotton modules sitting on pads north of the gin.

Approximately 85 cotton modules were destroyed as winds spread fire at Monette Co-Op.

The fire was believed to have started at the gin trash pile south of the gin, and the high winds blew it onto standing cotton modules where it quickly spread throughout the property.

"No residents had to evacuate their homes because the smoke damage," said Monette Mayor Chub Qualls. "The policemen regulated traffic on Highway 18, as the thick smoke blew across the highway. Equipment from three nearby cotton gins, Kiech-Shauver-Miller Gin, Black Oak Gin, and Childress Gin, quickly responded to help relocate unaffected modules. This was a great help for us to reduce the spread of the fire."

"We received the fire call at 12:45 p.m.," said Monette Fire Chief Bob Blankenship. "City fire departments responded from Leachville, Caraway, Black Oak and Lake City. Manila was on standby. We have come to depend greatly on our neighboring emergency personnel, who are always quick to respond. Bull dozers were dispatched from the Forestry Service to spread the burning cotton and allow firemen to keep it under control."

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