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Backus: Council moves fast to repair city hall

Volunteers from fire department finish major repairs ahead of cold snap

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During a tumultuous week, the Backus City Council held an emergency meeting Thursday, Feb. 4, to discuss organizational matters as they relate to city hall, which sustained damage in a fire Tuesday, Feb. 2.

Fast action by the fire department, as well as early detection by a firefighter doing paperwork in the hall, meant damage to the hall was kept to a minimum and contained mostly to a hallway. Firefighters returned to the hall the next morning to repair structural damage, replacing five trusses that were burned in the fire and installing insulation.

The council met after these repairs had been complete to discuss the next steps.

In an email summary by Clerk Ann Swanson, she said both a fire marshal and insurance adjuster came to inspect the fire. The fire marshal has not yet determined a likely cause. The city is gathering quotes for the insurance adjuster.

The meeting room and hallway damaged in the fire will have new sheetrock, carpet, grid ceiling and lighting. Some of the work in the hall, including deep cleaning, will be reimbursable through insurance; however, the city had planned to have carpet, grid ceiling and lighting installed in the meeting room and therefore may not qualify for reimbursement for that work.

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The council also agreed to obtain quotes for a different fire detection system. Smoke detection alarms are not suitable for the fire hall, so heat detection systems will be reviewed with a quote available to the city.

Backus residents may resume using the city hall drop box for bills and other important documents. The city clerk, however, will be working from different offices during the remodeling.

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or travis.grimler@pineandlakes.com. Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/@PEJ_Travis.

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