Archived Story

Town starts cleanup after large fire

Published 10:45am Wednesday, July 10, 2013

HOLLANDALE — The State Fire Marshal’s office began combing through the wreckage Tuesday of the large fire that destroyed three warehouses in this community.

“It’s years of work up in smoke,” said Craig Ferns, owner of CF Distributing which rented the third warehouse. “Decades of work, and in 10 minutes it’s gone.”

Ferns, business partner Rick Peterson and warehouse owners Don and Irene Jones looked on Tuesday as firefighters began their investigation.

“I kicked my butt all day yesterday, saying if I had only been there,” Ferns said. “But if I had been I could have been trapped inside.”

Two of the warehouses stored antique vehicles and other collectibles, while the third housed motorcycle and lawn mower parts for an online business. The warehouses were at 101 Netherlands Ave. W.

He said he was told the fire started in the front office of his warehouse, where he likely would have been.

Fire marshal officials haven’t determined how it began and no damage estimates have been set.

Firefighters from at least 20 departments in and outside of Freeborn County battled the blaze for more than eight hours in hot, humid conditions. The ruins still smoldered Tuesday as numerous people drove by the buildings and looked at the damage.

Ferns and Don Jones said they did not have insurance on the buildings or their belongings.

“I’m just going to try to start over,” Ferns said.

Don Jones said he had 15 antique cars in the warehouse, including two Model Ts, and about 30 antique chainsaws, among other collectibles.

“It’s stuff I like to collect,” he said. “It’s not worth a lot of money, but I’ll never get it back.”

Two other people also rented out space in the back of one of the warehouses, he said.

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