Warren, Minn., residents return home after Nordic Fiberglass fire triggers evacuation
WARREN, Minn. -- A warehouse fire that forced nearby Warren residents from their homes Wednesday is under investigation, though investigators don't suspect foul play in the blaze.
WARREN, Minn. - A warehouse fire that forced nearby Warren residents from their homes Wednesday is under investigation, though investigators don’t suspect foul play in the blaze.
Dispatchers received a call around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday for a fire that started at a Nordic Fiberglass facility at South Montana Street and Minnesota Highway 1, Marshall County Sheriff Jason Boman said Thursday. Firefighters from Warren, Crookston and Alvarado, Minn., responded to the scene, where the floor inside the steel building appears to have caught fire, Boman said.
It’s unclear how the fire started, but it appeared to have originated on the second floor where motors are located, Boman said.
“I don’t know for sure if that was the cause of it, but that is kind of where the fire was at,” he said.
The Marshall County Sheriff’s Department asked residents in a one-block radius from Nordic Fiberglass to leave their homes and find alternative housing for the night. Boman said with the chemicals inside, responders were unsure how the fire would progress and that’s why they took precautions to protect residents.
About 10 homes were evacuated, but Boman said it’s likely residents could return home today.
Brittany Kasprowicz, who lives with her four children and husband kitty corner from the warehouse, said she was washing dishes when her boys saw the firetrucks pull up across the streets. About an hour after the fire started, she said they decided to leave.
“It was kind of getting worse, they weren’t getting and it was starting to stink,” she said, adding it was hard to breathe outside. “You could start to smell (the smoke) inside.”
The family rented a hotel but were able to return this morning, Kasprowicz said. She said nothing on the house appeared damaged externally by the fire, but it smells of smoke and will need to be checked out, she added.
Firefighters had a tough time putting out the blaze since they couldn’t get into the building, Boman said. Though the outside is steel, the inside’s structure is made of wood, he said.
“The fire department wasn’t able to get inside just because of safety reasons,” he said. “They didn’t know if that floor was going to give out.”
A trackhoe from Olson Underground of Warren was used to tear down the south and west walls so firefighters could put out the flames. The blaze was mostly extinguished by 11 a.m.
Significant damage was caused to the Nordic Fiberglass building, though Boman doesn’t believe it will be a total loss. The fire marshall, who was at the scene Wednesday, is expected to return to further investigate the incident.
There was no fire damage to surrounding homes, though residents who smell smoke should contact the Sheriff’s Department, Boman said.
No one was injured, he added.
Nordic Fiberglass first opened a facility in 1970 in Devils Lake, N.D., according to its website. The company then opened a second branch in 1986 in Warren, where it is now headquartered. The manufacturer produces fiberglass products for the electrical industry. That includes box pads for transformers, oil-filled switchgear, ground sleeves for sectionalized cabinets and other products.
Nordic Fiberglass’ general manager did not return messages seeking comment.
Boman gave credit to Olson Underground and the firefighters that helped put out the flames, adding everyone was organized and kept each other safe.
“I’m glad that they got it taken care of and that the whole building didn’t get destroyed,” Kasprowicz said of Nordic Fiberglass’ facility.
Warren, a city of about 1,500 residents, is about 30 miles northeast of Grand Forks.