10-year-old girl dies in bale fire

ADRIAN – A state fire marshal was on the scene Thursday night in rural Adrian after a 10-year-old girl’s body was found dead among round bales that had been burning. According to Nobles County Sheriff Kent Wilkening, while Adrian firefighters were battling a blaze among round hay bales at 25773 Ahlers Avenue, Perri Heideman had been reported missing.

“They did a search of the farm place and turned up nothing,” Wilkening said. “Once the fire was put out by the department, they started tearing apart bales to search further and stop flare-ups, and they found her.”

The Adrian Fire Department was called to the Heideman farm where the little girl lived shortly before 7 p.m. Thursday. Mutual aid for a tanker was requested from the Ellsworth Fire Department, and before long, a request for more man-power also came over the radios, presumably to assist with the fire and the search.

The child was deceased at the time the body was located.

“I don’t know what started the fire – that’s still under investigation.” Wilkening said.
Fire fighting, by its very nature tends to destroy evidence, determining a cause could be difficult.

“There was an old car sitting next to the bales that didn’t run, and that burned too,” Wilkening said. “We just don’t know what started the fire.”

Firefighters were called back to the farm Friday morning to put out some flare-ups at the scene.

According to Wilkening, a debriefing to help firefighters cope with the situation is being arranged as soon as possible.

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