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Employee 'severely burned' Tuesday in equipment fire at Kenny's Candy in Perham

It was a fire, not an explosion, and it involved equipment that handled hot candy, a company spokesman said. There were other employees in the vicinity at the time of the fire, which was reported at 11:35 a.m., but nobody else was hurt, and they called for help immediately.

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Kenny's Candy's maintenance building was moved in order to expand the warehouse into the maintenance building's previous location. (Elizabeth Vierkant/Focus)
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One person was seriously injured Tuesday morning when a piece of equipment caught fire at Kenny’s Candy and Confections in Perham.

The fire was in Building 1, which produces licorice, among other types of candy, and the employee was “severely burned” in the accident, according to Perham Fire Chief Mark Schmidt.

“The sprinkler system activated and extinguished the fire,” said Robb Moser, a spokesperson for KLN Family Brands, which owns Kenny’s Candy. “Unfortunately, one employee was injured and has been taken to a medical facility. We are in close contact with the employee, their doctors, and their family – their recovery is our main concern.”

The name of the employee was not released. They were taken to the Perham hospital, Schmidt said.

Moser said in an interview that the company is also working with local authorities and the state fire marshal’s office to identify the cause of the fire, and that it has notified the proper regulatory agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which has been on site.

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It was a fire, not an explosion, and it involved equipment that handled hot candy, Moser said. There were other employees in the vicinity at the time of the fire, which was reported at 11:35 a.m., but nobody else was hurt, and they called for help immediately.

“We’re very proud of our team members, they were able to help get the situation under control quickly,” he said.

The accident was an isolated incident in a small area of the plant, Moser said. That area has been closed off for the fire investigation, and the rest of the plant continues to operate as usual. “We have secured the site and are re-directing employees to other production lines,” Moser said.

Firefighters were on the scene for 60 to 90 minutes handling hot spots, Schmidt said, but the bulk of the fire was put out with the factory's sprinkler system. The company is still calculating the cost of damages, he said.

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