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Fire destroys Baer Trucking facility west of Audubon

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What's left of the Baer Trucking building west of Audubon. (Paula Quam / Tribune) 2 / 6
Cold weather froze up a couple of nozzles and was a menace to other fire equipment Saturday morning as the weather was below zero for most of the morning. (Paula Quam / Tribune) 3 / 6
Blackened out trucks and destruction surrounded the shop as it billowed black smoke. (Paula Quam / Tribune) 4 / 6
Smoke could be seen from Highway 10 Saturday morning, as the metal shop burned so hot fire fighters had to wait to get inside the shop to put out the rest of the hot spots. (Paula Quam / Tribune) 5 / 6
Firefighers say nobody was inside the building when the fire started in the middle of the night, but there was plenty of doomed equipment inside. (Paula Quam / Tribune) 6 / 6

A middle of the night fire broke out at the Baer Trucking building, located between Audubon and Lake Park, with firefighters getting the call sometime after 4 a.m. Saturday.

"When we got here it was fully engulfed," said Lake Park Fire Chief Dave Coufal, whose fire department was one of the ones called in to help the Audubon Fire Department.

Standing outside a massive, smoldering steel building charred with damage, Coufal says the good news was that nobody was in the building at the time. The bad news is, there's tons of property that was destroyed.

"Trucks, tools, tires...everything to do with a trucking company," said Coufal, who says there were three or four entities that operated out of the building, including a mechanical shop. With black smoke billowing out, it was tough to see in the building Saturday morning, but the remnants of a few trucks sat outside, blackened and destroyed.

"We're waiting on the fire marshal to get here to start investigating before we tear too much apart, but we've got to get in there to tear some stuff off...steel off the outside of the building to actually get in and put the rest of the hot spots out," said Coufal, who says at this point they don't know what caused the fire.

Their biggest struggle dealing with this fire, though, is the cold. It was below zero for the first part of the day.

"Everything is freezing up," he said, adding that they're having to work to keep the trucks and equipment functioning, as well as the many volunteer firefighters on scene.

"The guys are freezing up...it's cold," said Coufal. "We’ll be there all day."

Fire departments from Audubon, Lake Park, Detroit Lakes, Hawley, Callaway and Pelican Rapids all responded, as did Audubon Rescue and St. Mary's EMS.

Paula Quam

Paula Quam is the editor for Forum Communications Co. newspapers in Detroit Lakes and Perham, both in Minnesota.

(218) 844-1466
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