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Video, photos: Area firefighters battle blaze at Cross-Tech Manufacturing

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Six area fire departments were on the scene of a blaze overnight Thursday, March 6, at Cross-Tech Manufacturing in Crosslake, where 72,000 gallons of water were used to fight the fire.

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Crews from Crosslake, Mission Township, Ideal Township, Fifty Lakes, Pequot Lakes and Nisswa responded to the business on Gendreau Road and County Road 3 just south of downtown Crosslake. There were no serious injuries, though one Crosslake firefighter need stitches from a sheet metal cut, said Crosslake Fire Chief Chip Lohmiller, who estimated 40-50 firefighters responded.

The state fire marshal was on the scene Friday, March 7, and Cross-Tech co-owner Roger Roy said the fire marshal indicated the fire started in the rafters. Roy estimated damage to equipment and the building at $1.75 million.

Cross-Tech employs 26 people and is among the nation’s leading manufacturers of the Brush Wolf line of hydraulic rotary brush cutters used to clear brush and small- to medium-sized trees. Work there includes manufacturing, assembling, shipping and receiving.

The business expanded in 2012, adding 15,000 square feet to the west of the original building. In total, the business occupies 27,000 square feet between Gendreau Road and County Road 3.

Roy said the original part of the building will have to be torn down, though they hope to salvage some products and tools. The owners plan to rebuild and continue operations from the newer part of the building. The fire occurred in the part of the building housing offices, assembly and painting areas, powder coating and sandblasting operations.

Lohmiller was among the first on the scene. He said the call came in as multiple fire alarms around 9 p.m. at the business co-owned by Roy and Scott Freiberg. Smoke was seen, soon followed by flames in the original portion of the building.

“We sent a crew in to see if the fire door was shut” between the original portion of the building and a 2012 addition, Lohmiller said, noting the fire didn’t reach the new part of the building. 

Not so on the original part of the building. A firefighter atop an aerial ladder stretching from an Ideal Fire and Rescue ladder truck continuously sprayed water down into the building to knock down flames as thick smoke billowed across the night sky, often obscuring the firefighter and ladder reaching far above the building.

Tankers regularly rumbled down Gendreau Road to retrieve and dump water from the Crosslake Fire Hall and Crosslake Community Center into large collection pools used to keep fire hoses filled.

Lohmiller said the ladder truck requires a lot of water, using many gallons per minute.

Cause of the fire was not immediately determined. Firefighters cleared the scene at 5 a.m. Friday, March 7, and were called back later that morning for a couple of flareups from shifting winds.

Nancy Vogt can be reached at nancy.vogt@pineandlakes.com. Follow her at facebook.com/PEJNancy and on Twitter @PEJ_Nancy.

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Becca Clemens
After graduating high school in 2004, I attended Central Lakes College in Staples, MN for 2 years where I got a diploma in Communication Art and Design. I then transfered up to Bemidji State University in, you guessed it, Bemidji, MN. In the spring of 2009, I graduated from BSU. Then in the fall of 2009 I got a job at Echo Publishing, a sister company to the Brainerd Dispatch.
(218) 855-5878
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