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Wadena Firefighters Battle Hazmat Fire Amid Tornado Threat

Originally published May 30, 2022. Updated with more details from authorities.

WADENA, Minn. (WCCO) -- Authorities issued a shelter-in-place order in Wadena Monday as crews worked to extinguish a fire at a large industrial building -- all while a tornado was tearing through the region.

The fire started at about 3 p.m. on the 600 block of Ash Avenue Northeast, in a building being used by Minnesota Valley Irrigation for storage and equipment operations.

Because the building was being used to store agricultural chemicals, a temporary shelter-in-place was issued. Fire crews were pulled away from their efforts at about 5 p.m. after a tornado was confirmed on the ground about 20 miles south near Eagle Bend.

Wadena Hazmat Fire
(credit: Maelvy Castillo)

Firefighters were able to return to the scene about a 30 minutes later to continue fighting the fire, which they did so until about 8 p.m.

On recommendation of the Minnesota Duty Officer Hazardous Material Division, crews made a sand dike "to contain the chemicals on the west side of the building." Authorities say there are no remaining health risks to employees of the business, or nearby residents.

Crews were called back Tuesday at about 3:30 a.m. after the fire rekindled. All remaining hot spots were extinguished by about 5:30 a.m.

The building is said to be a total loss. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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