One Year After Globe Grain Elevator Fire, Owner Hasn’t Been Paid for Damages

Owner Gordon Oftedahl tells us the 130-year-old grain elevator was valued at $10 million

SUPERIOR, Wis. – It’s been one year since the Globe Grain Elevator was destroyed by fire.

The structure was the largest wooden grain elevator in the world at one time, and it was made of rare, expensive wood.

The elevator’s owner tells us he has still not been paid for the millions of dollars in damages caused by the fire.

Now, a damaged frame and a pile of rubble are all that are left of the 130-year-old structure and the rare wood inside.

“I’ve sold all that was salvageable. There’s a lot of burned wood and maybe some of it could be taken apart,” said owner Gordon Oftedahl.

Oftedahl tells us he hired an outside company to help him take down the elevator. He says that company, Kiesow Enterprises of eastern Wisconsin, told him they had the project insured.

“But it did $10 million dollars damage and they don’t have that much in insurance and they haven’t paid me one cent in a year,” said Oftedahl. “I’ve had to live without anything for a year.”

Although most of the wood inside the Globe was destroyed, the Superior Fire Department is proud they were able to put out the fire quickly enough to save a portion of Oftedahl’s merchandise.

“When the time was right we did make an offensive attack, which is how we were able to save several hundreds of thousands of dollars of wood for the owner of that elevator,” said Superior Fire Chief Scott Gordon.

Gordon tells us his department responded to the elevator fire quickly, using what they learned from the Husky refinery fire only months earlier.

“We were able to set up a command structure, we were able to get a safety zone,” said Gordon.

But the safety zone of 250 feet proved to be too close for the firefighters because of how hot the Globe burned.

“We’re not used to our safety zone still being too close when it comes to radiant heat,” said Gordon. “That 250 feet did not suffice when it came to radiant heat, so we actually had to back up so we have since then put that into our operational plans.”

Meanwhile, Oftedahl is considering a lawsuit against Keisow Enterprises and their insurance companies.

Plus, he’s looking to the future of how to develop his waterfront property where the empty shell of the Globe still stands.

“A marina and an RV park could be something that could really fit in here nice and it would be good for the city,” said Oftedahl.

FOX 21 called Keisow Enterprises multiple times for a comment on this story. There was no answer and the mailbox was full.

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