INFORUM.com | WDAZ.com

WDAY: The News Leader

Published May 30, 2012, 09:05 AM

Late night fire in Detroit Lakes forces business to close

Detroit Lakes, Minn. (WDAY TV) - A major late night fire in Detroit Lakes causes one company to close up shop. It happened just after 11 at the welding and manufacturing shop, CJJ Incorporated.

Detroit Lakes, Minn. (WDAY TV) - A major late night fire in Detroit Lakes causes one company to close up shop. It happened just after 11 at the welding and manufacturing shop, CJJ Incorporated.

Firefighters arrived to heavy flames coming out of the roof and thick smoke. They believe it started somewhere near the office part of the building. The fire was put out around 2 this morning, crews were on scene until 5.

Other departments from Frazee and Audubon had to assist with the fire.

Chief Dave Baer - Detroit Lakes Fire Department: “The actual frame structure, the wooden frame structure was completely totaled and there was some damage into the steel frame of the production area, some I beams that started to bow bases upon the heat and the fire that was in there.”

All employees left work Tuesday around 5 last night, so no one was in the building when the fire broke out. Many workers didn't even know they were coming into work this morning to a building that had be nearly destroyed by fire.

Production here at CJJ is at a stand still after the late night fire ripped through the building, now workers are left picking up the pieces. Shop foreman Dean Mertens has never experienced something like this in his 12 years working for the company. He was chocked up as he described his feelings.

Dean Mertens - Shop Foreman: “If we get back rolling good in 30 days I'd be happy, but then we are 30 days behind, and we can't make up lost time, we just can't.”

Mertens and his crew spent most of the morning salvaging through parts and pieces not destroyed by the blaze.

Dean Mertens - Shop Foreman: “The trouble is all of the welders, all of the big machinery, the saws, the iron workers, that's all loss.”

One of the biggest disappointments for this team leader is all the progress the company and it's workers have made in the recent months.

Dean Mertens: “Just getting caught up and seeing daylight a little bit, so this will put us back behind again.”

Production Manager Andrea Hoff shares Mertens sadness. Although the damage estimates are still unsure, she says production will definitely be affected.

Andrea Hoff - Production Manager: “We have to go in and see what equipment is still working and functioning, once we get an idea about that we can start making some plans.”

Many workers came to their boss this morning asking if they still had their jobs, and one good thing out of this fiery mess, they do.

Dean Mertens: “They all got jobs, we ain't sending anybody home, well we did today just because we just don't know what's going on just yet.”

No one was injured in the fire. Damage estimates are not known. The cause is still under investigation.

Tags: