WDAY: The News Leader

Published January 21, 2014, 10:15 PM

Massive fire ravages a potato warehouse in Perham

Perham, Minn. (WDAY TV) -A huge fire in Perham, Minnesota has shutdown roads, and destroyed a warehouse and potatoes inside.

Perham, Minn. (WDAY TV) -A huge fire in Perham, Minnesota has shutdown roads, and destroyed a warehouse and potatoes inside.

The fire broke out about 4:30 tonight. It's still burning, and the weather isn't helping.

Some nearby hydrants were frozen when fire fighters arrived.

The 200 by 300 warehouse is just off West Main in Perham.

The fire is still very active at this point. A portion of the building collapsed. Three fire fighters had barely made it out of the way in time. The fire is still very active there are a lot of people out here watching, many saying they've never seen anything like this before.

Delores Bernauer, onlooker: "Just could see the red sky"

Don Bernauer, onlooker: "When I saw all red flames inside there, it's just terrible."

Onlookers Don and Delores Bernauer anxiously watch as the fire roars amid a sea of smoke.

Delores Bernauer: "Makes me nervous, makes me very nervous"

Their loved ones within inches of the blaze.

Delores Bernauer: "Three grandchildren are volunteer fireman, fighting this fire."

While they both agree this is the largest fire they've ever seen, it's certainly not the first. For Don, it brings back vivid images.

Don Bernauer: "When I was a young kid in town, the GTElevator burnt three times and we lived a block and a half away from that, and there were flames up in the air like that. Just terrible flames, it brings memories back."

They're not the only ones sitting across the road from the fire watching as it consumes a well-known warehouse, typically stocked full of potatoes.

Jessica Beier, onlooker: "We have some friends that actually put the potatoes here in the harvest season."

A text message from a friend alerted Jessica Beier to the fire. She says she could see the glow of a crimson fire more than 10 miles out of town.

Beier: "It was pretty bad but I didn't expect it to be that bad."

As to where the community goes from here, Beier says only up.

Beier: "We always try to help everyone out. We're a good community to be here in Perham.

This has been the scene as water trucks continue to bring water out here to the fire to try and put out the blaze. It has been going for at least four hours now, still no signs of stopping. I

10 different fire departments are on scene. So is Lake Region Electric making sure power lines are safe.

Making matters worse, there's a water main break in Perham tonight.