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Firefighters spray down the remaining flames of a fire that destroyed Howard Cold Storage and Lockers early Thursday morning in Howard. (Chris Mueller/Republic)

PHOTO GALLERY: Howard locker owner uncertain about future after fire

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News Mitchell,South Dakota 57301 http://www.mitchellrepublic.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/field/image/112213.N.DR_.HOWARDFIRE.JPG?itok=jgxVo9W9
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PHOTO GALLERY: Howard locker owner uncertain about future after fire
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

HOWARD — When Tim Glanzer opened the front door of his business early Thursday morning, it was already choked with thick, black smoke.

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Glanzer, owner of Howard Cold Storage and Lockers, reported the fire at his business on Main Street in Howard shortly after 4 a.m.

By the time firefighters arrived, flames were already pouring out of the building, according to Howard Fire Chief John Mengenhausen. The conditions made it impossible for firefighters to enter the burning building.

“We tried multiple times, but the smoke was just way too thick,” Mengenhausen said.

No one was in the building when the fire started and no one was injured, but the building was destroyed. The cause of the fire remains unknown, but does not appear to be suspicious, Mengenhausen said. The fire appears to have started in the rear of the building, he added.

Tim GlanzerOn a cold, windy morning, firefighters worked to prevent the fire from spreading to other, nearby businesses. Firefighters used one of the city’s bucket trucks — typically used to work on electrical wires — to spray the fire from above to keep it from spreading.

“It was really starting to burn,” Mengenhausen said. “We were really concerned it was going to spread to the south on us.”

Firefighters from Canova and Fedora were called to assist the Howard Fire Department. At one point, there may have been as many as 30 firefighters at the scene.

Despite the firefighters’ efforts, the building was declared a total loss.

“In a small, rural community, anything like this is going to hurt,” Mengenhausen said.

For Glanzer, there were few words to describe the emotions that came with seeing his business burn to the ground. Howard Cold Storage and Lockers had five full-time workers, including Glanzer.

“They’re just as shocked as I am,” Glanzer said, referring to his employees in an interview with The Daily Republic at the scene. “I don’t know what will happen.”

With the East River deer season opening this Saturday — a busy time of year for the business — Glanzer said he hopes to open the business temporarily at another location until long-term plans can be made to possibly rebuild the business.

Donna Klinkhammer, whose husband, Terry, formerly owned the business and still works there, said she was shocked and devastated by the fire.

“I think of the five guys that work there and their livelihood,” she said. “It just affects a lot of people.”

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