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Fire destroys business warehouse in Hawley

HAWLEY -- Fire destroyed a warehouse overnight at Rapat Corp. in Hawley, but it shouldn't disrupt the business' operations, General Manager Ron Werner said.

The wooden outbuilding was used for storage and maintenance, he said.

"It won't disrupt our operations at all, but we lost some inventory and some equipment," including a skid-steer loader, he said.

Rapat Corp. manufactures conveyors and other bulk material handling systems for agriculture and industry. The business employs about 70 people, Werner said.

The fire was reported about 3 a.m. The wood-framed warehouse was engulfed in flames and the roof had caved in when firefighters arrived, Hawley Assistant Fire Chief Wayne Aakre said.

Firefighters extinguished the blaze in a couple of hours and were hampered by cold weather.

"We had a lot of frozen hoses, frozen-up equipment," Aakre said.

The cause of the fire is unknown, Aakre said. A state fire marshal was called to investigate.

"I don't know if we'll be able to figure anything out, because it's pretty well gone," he said.

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Mike Nowatzki at (701) 241-5528