Sept. 19--SARTELL -- Four fire departments were on scene Thursday morning for a fire in an office at the former Verso Paper mill.
The fire was reported at 6:40 a.m. Firefighters from Sauk Rapids, Waite Park and St. Cloud were called to help Sartell crews with the fire, according to Capt. Jerry Raymond of the Sartell Fire Department. A smoky haze hung over the mill, the nearby Mississippi River and part of the city.
A worker was trying to put the fire out with a hose when firefighters arrived.
The office and its contents burned and the fire spread into the walls of the second-floor office. The Sartell fire marshal is investigating the cause, Raymond said.
The fire was in one of the buildings that has been sitting vacant since a fire and explosion Memorial Day 2012 in another part of the mill shut down operations.
The office sits above a loading dock, Raymond said.
Raymond did not know what the contents of the office were.
AIM Development purchased the property from Verso Paper. Last month the company received an interim use permit from Sartell to demolish the site. Work began shortly thereafter.
The company is working to demolish buildings, vertical concrete structures and metal. The company has said that more than 530,000 square feet of buildings, along with tanks and other items, will be removed.
Up to 95 percent of the materials will be recycled, according to the company.
The only buildings that will remain are the office building, hydroelectric operations and a warehouse. Concrete foundations and footings will also remain.
The first phase of demolition includes removing the buildings north of Sartell Street and west of the railroad tracks. Once that's complete, the buildings south of Sartell Street and west of the tracks will be removed.
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