Potato warehouse reduced to rubble
Elizabeth Huwe and Marie Nitke
Forum News Service
PERHAM, Minn. -- What was a large potato storage warehouse has been reduced to a smoldering heap of rubble and wreckage after an all-night fire consumed the building and its contents.
The warehouse, located just northwest of Perham on Otter Tail County Highway 80, is owned by R.D. Offutt Company.
A press release sent out by the company earlier today confirmed the loss of the building along with “potatoes and miscellaneous equipment used in the loadout process.” The company is working with its insurers and local authorities to investigate the cause of the fire and determine the full extent of the damage.
The release also confirmed that no employees were hurt in the fire.
Keith McGovern, the company’s CEO, stated, “We are very thankful that no one was injured and would like to thank the emergency responders and volunteers who were involved in fighting and controlling this fire.”
At last count, 13 fire departments from Perham and the surrounding area helped to battle the blaze. The fire was called in just before 4:30 p.m. Tuesday and lasted through the night.
Volunteers with the Red Cross arrived in Perham about 10:15 p.m. to serve snacks and coffee to the firefighters and emergency response workers. Brian Shawn of the Red Cross said they served 100 meals and 300 snacks, as well as at least 5 gallons of coffee.
Perham Public Works Director Merle Meece clarified that it was a service line, not a water main as was previously reported, that broke in the area of the fire last night. City workers got the problem solved quickly.
“Everything worked as far as we could tell,” he said. “We were able to keep up with what they needed.”
The fire department has scheduled a press conference for 2:30 p.m. today
. This story will be updated as more information becomes available.