Cost of paper mill firefighting balloonsby Conrad Wilson, Minnesota Public Radio
SARTELL, Minn. — Firefighters are still putting out hot spots at a central Minnesota paper mill fire that started on Monday.
City officials say the cost of extinguishing the remains of the blaze will be more than six figures. And the damage to the Verso Paper Mill in Sartell and its future are both uncertain.
"We havent' been in the area of the incident," said Matt Archambeau on Friday. "Once the fire fighting operation is complete, the investigation is complete we've got a team of engineers lined up to start entering the area and assess what the full affect of the incident is."
While the paper making machine doesn't appear too damaged, all of the mill's electrical and plumbing ran through the warehouse where the fire took place.
Firefighters have dumped about four million gallons of water at the site of the fire. But they're still seeing flare ups as some of the huge paper rolls come into contact with oxygen.
The century-old mill is an icon in the community. The city of Sartell grew up around it. And while the company eliminated 175 jobs last year, it still employees more than 250 people.
Despite its importance, the future of the mill is uncertain. City officials, Gov. Mark Dayton and the mill's executives say they want to get the plant back online. But they're only now starting to see the scope of the damage.
One person was killed in the fire, and four were injured.