Update on potato warehouse fire in PerhamPerham, Minn (WDAY TV) -The site of that massive fire continues to smolder tonight. A huge warehouse is now reduced to rubble.
By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY
Perham, Minn (WDAY TV) -The site of that massive fire continues to smolder tonight. A huge warehouse is now reduced to rubble.
No cause of the fire yet, but it was a tough night for firefighters.
Hours after ice encased them, Engine 6 and Ladder 8 at the Perham Fire Department began to thaw. Rock hard, frozen hoses finally loosened up.
At the fire scene today, the remains of an old wooden and tin warehouse nearly full of potatoes, trucks and equipment
Mark Schmidt, Perham Fire Chief: “There was a few small explosions. We're thinking those were fuel tanks from the trucks.”
Much of the building and what was left today was draped in ice. More than a million gallons of water used to fight the fire. All done by an army of volunteer firefighters from as far away as Rothsay, Fergus Falls and Henning.
Schmidt: “About 130 plus firefighters were on scene from 20 departments.”
Perham businessman Michael Bleichner was sitting in his office across the road here from RDO when he heard and saw the fire.
Michael Bleichner, witness: “All of a sudden I heard a little bit of an explosion and when the panels peeled back a little bit then I decided I'm headed out of here, it's too dang close and flames began to pour out of that building.”
Sub-zero temperatures proved to be the biggest challenge of all for firefighters. The combination of water and cold is not a good mix.
Schmidt: “You're spraying water and things are freezing and you get mist over the equipment and your trucks are just coated with ice and then a pump freezes up here and you bring in a different engine.”
The fire department and RDO today expressed relief no one was injured. The flames and smoke were intense with ice and cold and so many volunteer firefighters battling the blaze on scene. Winds today blew the smoke into town. The smell of spuds, a little overcooked.
RDO told us today, there is no dollar amount yet for the loss of the inventory and the warehouse. A state fire marshal was expected on scene tonight or tomorrow.