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Baer keeps on trucking in spite of major fire

Cold weather froze up a couple of nozzles and was a menace to other fire equipment as the weather was below zero for most of the morning of the fire March 2. (Paula Quam / Tribune) 1 / 3
Smoke could be seen from Highway 10 March 2, 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) 2 / 3
Blackened out trucks and destruction surrounded the shop as it billowed black smoke. (Paula Quam / Tribune) 3 / 3

Baer Trucking is continuing to operate, after an overnight fire destroyed its 75-foot by 100-foot shop off Highway 10 a few miles east of Lake Park.

"What trucks we have left are on the road," said Shelley Ullrich, who owns the business with her husband, Curt. "We're continuing with the business," she added, "our employees are doing their best to keep on going."

Since 1989, Bear Trucking has delivered sunflower hulls and shavings to turkey and chicken farmers for poultry bedding.

No cause has been established for the fire, which occurred Saturday, March 2, when the shop was unoccupied, Ullrich said. "We're still waiting ... there's been no determination yet."

The damage was considerable: In addition to the shop building, tools and equipment, eight semi trucks were destroyed — they were parked inside because of the cold temperatures that night, she said.

"When it gets down to a certain degree at night, it's just easier on them to be inside," she said. "Most trucking companies do that if they can."

Four of those trucks were owned by Tarnowski Trucking LLC of Pelican Rapids, which leases trailers from Baer Trucking. The other four were owned by Baer Trucking.

Baer had two trucks parked outside that weren't damaged by the fire, and has picked up a two additional trucks to keep its operations going, Ullrich said.

A Baer employee also ran a repair shop, Totland Repair, out of the Baer Trucking shop, Ullrich said.

During a very difficult time, the community has been supportive, she said.

"We would like to say thank you to all who have reached out with such

kind words and helping hands," she said. "To all the firefighters who answered the call — thank you, with our deepest gratitude for your dedication."