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Firefighters get helping hand in putting fire out at BIC

This 2017 file photo shows paper bales processed by GreenForest Recycling at the Brainerd Industrial Center. Steve Kohls / Brainerd Dispatch1 / 2
A fire broke out Tuesday night in the Green Forest Recycling Center at the Brainerd Industrial Center off Mill Avenue in Brainerd. File photo2 / 2

A fire broke out Tuesday night in the GreenForest Recycling center at the Brainerd Industrial Center off Mill Avenue in Brainerd.

The Brainerd Fire Department was called at 7:49 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 8, to the fire and were on scene until 12:40 a.m., as getting to the fire proved a bit challenging.

Brainerd Fire Chief Tim Holmes said a bunch of shredded and baled paper in the recycling area caught on fire. Firefighters had to remove the paper on the top to get to the bottom of the recycling pile to put the fire out. The recycling center is located inside the BIC building on the northwest corner, where the loading dock is located.

Holmes said the fire was contained to the recycling area and did not threaten any other parts of the building. Holmes said with help from BIC owner Mike Higgins and his crew of about eight and their fleet of skid loaders, firefighters were able to get to the fire.

"We had to remove some of the recycling paper and bales to get to the fire and there was zero visibility," Holmes said. "It was just a matter of getting to the smoldering paper and then to clear that out.

"We can't give enough credit to Mike Higgins and his crew for helping us out. Without their help it would have been impossible to do it by hand. I don't know what we would have done. A couple of our guys are familiar with operating the equipment and they did a great job operating the skid loaders with their air-breathing apparatuses on."

Brainerd called Deerwood Fire Department to provide assistance with its compressed air-breathing apparatus trailer and the Nisswa Fire Department for manpower. There were about 30 firefighters on scene.

Brainerd firefighters were called back to BIC for a report of smoldering debris at 7:58 a.m. Wednesday.

Other fire call

Brainerd firefighters also responded to a fire alarm at 11 p.m. Tuesday at Deerwood Bank, 14986 Lynwood Drive, Baxter. Firefighters investigated and determined the burning smell was from the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.