Fire Leaves Local Business a Total Loss
Around 3:30 Thursday afternoon firefighters were called to Cloquet Interiors, more than 24 hours later crews are still working at the scene.
CLOQUET, Minn.- The investigation continues tonight into a major fire that broke out Thursday afternoon at a Cloquet business.
Cloquet Interiors along Highway 33 is a total loss and Friday’s winds kept firefighters on site to make sure the fire didn’t cause more problems. Around 3:30 Thursday afternoon firefighters were called to Cloquet Interiors, more than 24 hours later crews are still working at the scene. The business was open for more than 60 years but the main building and warehouse were both destroyed in the fire. Total damage is estimated to be around $1.5 million. Because the fire was so large, firefighters were unable to enter the showroom and warehouse when they got there. An excavator was provided by a local contractor to help breach the steel structure to eventually get them in. As of 11 a.m. Friday morning firefighters were still working on controlling two hot spots.
“With the wind coming up today it’s a critical fire weather day, so we want to make sure we don’t have any additional fires at what’s left here at the site,” Cloquet Fire Department Chief Kevin Schroeder said.
The fire engulfed warehouse shelves stocked full of carpet and laminated flooring, exposing potentially hazardous fumes, especially to first responders.
“All of those products are made with oil or hydrocarbon products and synthetics, the makeup of the material was very heavy in chemicals,” Chief Schroeder said.
Crew members tell us the fire burned faster than a typical house fire and it took over 380,000 gallons of water to extinguish the fire.
“You know your standard house burns pretty good by itself now fill a warehouse with that type of material and that’s a solid form of gasoline is what it is,” Chief Schroeder said.
Smoke from the fire could be seen miles away.
“It was coming, it was just rolling, it was black,” local witness said.
Carlton, Thomson Township and Wrenshall Fire Departments all helped put this fire out.
Minnesota DNR wildfire crews extinguished grass fires that threatened adjacent properties.
Helping save two other warehouse facilities and saved vehicles.
“I take my hat off to those firefighters, they risk their lives every day,” a local witness said.
Authorities also monitored the potential impact of the smoke plume from the burning carpet and synthetic flooring, which impacted the Esko area. Power was shut down to the immediate area and some cell towers. Those services should all be restored soon. Nobody was hurt and the case of the fire is still under investigation, stay with us for more updates.