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Crookston Bean elevator gutted by fire

CROOKSTON -- Fire gutted the Crookston Bean Co. early Wednesday. An overnight worker at Dahlgren's Warehouse called firefighters to the scene just after 5 a.m. Capt. Bob Magsam said flames were coming out of the upper level on the west side of th...

Crookston Bean Co. fire
Firefighters battled a blaze fueled this morning by high winds at the Crookston Bean Co. in Crookston. This view of the fire is from Crookston's Euclid Ave. (Photo courtesy of KROX Radio, Crookston; Chris Fee, photographer)

CROOKSTON -- Fire gutted the Crookston Bean Co. early Wednesday.

An overnight worker at Dahlgren's Warehouse called firefighters to the scene just after 5 a.m. Capt. Bob Magsam said flames were coming out of the upper level on the west side of the old wooden elevator. Several houses across South Main Street were hosed down as a precaution. Witnesses said crews appeared to have the blaze under control by 6:30 a.m. despite having to battle strong westerly winds.

"We did a good job of knocking down a lot of visible flame," Magsam said.

Crookston police Lt. Gene Wisness said South Main Street, South Front Street and avenues intersecting the two were closed to traffic as were the railroad tracks.

Power had to be cut to the southern end of town because a large transformer was near the scene. Workers at the Irishmen's Shanty said the power came back on about 7:50 a.m. Ray Ecklund, the day cook, arrived about 5:10 a.m.

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"The top of the elevator was engulfed in huge flames," Ecklund said. "It looked like a big torch. You could feel the heat in the parking lot."

Flames flared up on the north side just after 8 a.m. above the main office. Owner Loretta Seaver and firefighters scrambled to removed file cabinets and records from the office while two crewmen used an extension ladder to hose down the hot spots.

Seaver said she and her late husband, Bob, purchased the building about 30 years ago. She said no driers were left running overnight.

"We store peas trucked in from western North Dakota and used in pet food and bird food," Seaver said. "Some are shipped overseas."

Seaver's son and co-owner, Derick, said the grain loss could have been worse.

"Not all that many loads were in there," Derick Seaver said. "It would have been full next week. Luckily, nobody was hurt. They got the flames knocked down fairly quick, dumping a hell of a lot of water on it."

Equipment was brought in to knock down the center of the charred structure to keep hot spots from flaring up. Loretta Seaver said the building was insured.

All four engines from the Crookston Fire Department responded, along with one from the Fishe (Minn.) Fire Department. Crookston Area Ambulance, Crookston Fire and Rescue and Crookston police also were on the scene.

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Reach Johnson at (701) 780-1262; (800) 477-6572, ext. 262; or send e-mail to jjohnson2@gfherald.com .

Crookston elevator locator map
A fire broke out early this morning at the Crookston Bean Co. at 1600 S. Main St. in Crookston. The fire was reported at about 5 a.m. and was under control at about 6:30 a.m.

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