Future of Minn. paper mill unclear after fatal fireby Conrad Wilson, Minnesota Public Radio
SARTELL, Minn. — The future of a paper mill that's one of the main employers and taxpayers in the central Minnesota town of Sartell is unclear as crews spend a second day fighting a fire that killed one worker.
The fire broke out Monday with an explosion in a warehouse at the Verso Paper Corp. mill. the fire is about 90 percent contained, but firefighters are having trouble reaching the burning paper rolls at the back of the building.
Fire Chief Ken Heim doesn't think the rest of the plant was damaged, however. About 150 people work at the paper plant on a normal weekday, according to plant manager Matt Archambeau. He said he doesn't know what the future holds for them. Jon Michael Maus, 50, of Albany, Minn., was killed in the fire. Four others were injured. Those who were hospitalized have been released.
News reports say fire started after an air compressor exploded, but fire officials couldn't confirm that. They now say they're in the process of starting their investigation.
Sartell is north of St. Cloud. The plant, located on the banks of the Mississippi River, is a major local employer.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report, with information from the St. Cloud Times)