A spectacular fire demolished M & E Seed and Grain Co. in Prosser and left one person with burns. A smoldering pile of twisted metal and charred lumber was all that remained Thursday morning after firefighters battled the blaze in downtown Prosser all night. A few firefighters remained at the scene to monitor the fire
Firefighters were called old to the grain elevator at 500 7th St. shortly before 8 p.m. Wednesday.
“We’re getting many calls of the grain elevator just exploded …” emergency dispatchers told police initially. The fireball lit up the area and sent a huge plume of smoke into the sky over the Lower Yakima Valley. About 22 fire units from various fire agencies through the valley were called out to the old feed store and grain elevator where flames could be seen shooting into the air. Firefighters closed 7th Street and Stacey Avenue while they battled the flames from the ground and from aerial ladder trucks.
Prosser resident Ben Berg told the Herald he was sitting in his house when he turned and saw the blaze. “I ran out to go look at it,” he said. Just then he heard the sirens arriving. City Administrator Thomas Glover told the Tri-City Herald on Thursday that he could feel the heat from the flames a block away. The building came crashing to the ground about two hours after the fire started. Firefighters were still putting water on the fire until the early morning hours.
It was built in 1925 by the Murphy family of Prosser, said Alys Freepons Means the director of the Prosser Historical Museum. It started as the ACM Feed Store and then became M & E Seed and Grain. Means said the buildings destroyed in the fire were beloved landmarks in the city for generations. Several people remembered visiting the feed store attached to the elevator. “I grew up getting feed there for years — my mom loved that place. Terrible and sad,” one commenter said on Facebook.
Jo Anna Channel, a Prosser resident, caught a fire at a 7th Street grain elevator and feed store on video after it broke out Wednesday night. The fire leveled the building. BY COURTESY JO ANNA CHANNEL
The feed store had been converted into The Rumor Mill Antiques, Glover told the Herald.. According to the store’s Facebook page, it was one of their employees who was hurt. According to the Rumor Mill’s website, M & E Seed and Grain was still busy with walk-ins, cover crop seed orders and livestock feed deliveries.
According to the Benton County Assessor’s Office, M & E Seed & Grain Company still owns the property, which was valued at $122,000. The business is also still registered with the Washington Secretary of State’s Office.
This is the second major fire that has rocked downtown Prosser in a little more than a year.
A Prosser butcher shop was destroyed, and the city hall and police station were damaged in May 2021. Both the city hall and police department moved following the fire.