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Salem storage unit damaged by smoke, heat

SALEM -- A section of U.S. Highway 81 was shut down briefly early Monday morning in Salem for a structure fire.

A McCook County Sheriff's deputy noticed smoke coming from a storage unit on the end of a two-stall car wash on Vermont Avenue. The call came in around 2:25 a.m. About 20 firefighters from Salem and Montrose assisted. They were on scene until 5 a.m. and two firefighters monitored the situation until 8 a.m.

"Our best guess is that it was some sort of electrical fire on an old boat parked in the unit," said Salem Fire Chief Nathan Olinger.

Olinger said the fire department used a hydrant on the opposite side of Highway 81, so a hose ran across the road, causing the sheriff's department to block off the road for about an hour.

The storage unit contained a boat, lawn mowers and other items. Olinger said the storage unit sustained smoke and heat damage, but the car wash went largely unharmed.

There were no injuries.