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Economic officials brainstorm Sartell mill future as firefighting winds down

Economic officials brainstorm Sartell mill future as firefighting winds down Click to Enlarge Photo: Brad Veenstra

Jun 4, 2012 at 8:10 am

SARTELL, MN (KNSI) - The firefighting effort isn't over yet, but it has been scaled back at the Verso paper mill in Sartell.

It has been one week since an explosion and fire rocked the mill. It happened in a warehouse area where finished paper product is stored. One worker was killed, and four others were injured. Since then, 75 regional fire departments have responded with assistance. By last night, just one ladder truck and two firefighters from the Sartell Fire Department remained on the scene watching for flare-ups.

Sartell City Administrator Patti Gartland says once demolition of that warehouse area begins in earnest, more smoldering and flare-ups are expected.

The big question on everyone's mind is what the future holds for the paper mill. Gartland says officials from a number of area economic development groups will be meeting today to brainstorm ways to help the plant return to production. It employs about 250 people.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has visited the paper mill twice since the explosion and has promised the state will do whatever it can to help Verso get back on its feet.

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