Moose Lake Star Gazette - Serving Carlton and Pine Counties Since 1895

By Tim Franklin
Moose Lake Star Gazette 

Feed mill burns

 

Grayling Peterson

Area fire departments, including Willow River, assist in putting out a fire in Finlayson early Thursday, February 19. A 911 call was received around 3:30 a.m. reporting the blaze at Finlayson Ag Center. The fire took down the mill building behind the main store in downtown Finlayson. Other fire departments on the scene included Finlayson and Sandstone.

An early morning fire on Thursday, February 19, took part of a long-time Finlayson business, Finlayson Ag & Hardware, but it remains open.

The fire, reported around 3:19 a.m., destroyed the mill part of the business, owned by Greg and Gina Sostak.

Area fire departments, including Finlayson, Sandstone and Willow River, assisted in putting out the fire in Finlayson. No one was hurt in the fire.

The feed mill had several grain bins. The Sostaks estimate there could have been between 65 and 70 tons of grain in the tower when it came down.

Gina Sostak said they believe the building was built in the 1930s. They are still in the process of determining the total loss of inventory and the structure.

Putting out the fire was an exhaustive process since putting out a grain fire is not easy. Thursday morning was also one of the coldest of the year, dipping to 20 degrees below zero. Since a large amount of water was used, it also created very icy conditions for those firefighters who put out the fire.

The Finlayson Community Center was used by the firefighters to warm up between helping put out the fire.

Finlayson Fire Chief Robbie Fischer said they believe the fire started in the office area of the mill but the cause may never be determined.

Fischer said cold temperatures like this in a fire are just part of the job.

"You just have to keep everything running and watch your people so they don't run themselves down," Fischer said.

The main fire was put out at 2 p.m. that day. Contractors were called in, but some of them also had trouble starting their equipment because of the cold.

Fischer said they are still checking the site to make sure the fire does not start up again.

"These small town neighbors helping each other is exactly why we have kept investing in and improving our facilities in Finlayson. This is a great little town in a great area," Greg Sostak said on Facebook.

Finlayson Ag also worked with area mills to bring in feed. They plan on bringing up their inventories closer to normal in the coming days.

"Every day we get more and more feed in," Gina Sostak said. "By the end of the week, we should get more in."

"I can't say enough good things about our local fire departments. Their professionalism not only saved our store but they pulled the feed truck out of the scale building and saved that. As bad as it looks this could have been so much worse in many ways," Greg Sostak said.

Gina Sostak also credited the fire department.

"They were excellent. One of coldest nights of the year and they did a heck of a job. They got in there, contained the fire and no one got hurt," Gina Sostak said.

The family has owned the business for more than 20 years. They have made a plan to rebuild.

"We are working on plans to rebuild and getting a lot of our floor feed back in," Gina Sostak said.

Their popular Chick Days, coming March 17 in Hinckley and March 19 in Finlayson, are still on.

"Basically the worst is behind us. Gradually things will be getting back closer to normal," Greg Sostak added.

 

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