Responding To MnSP’s Fire

Saturday may have been the first day of a nice, three-day weekend for most folks, but when area firefighters, law enforcement, rescue workers and ambulance crews were called into action late Saturday night, they came in droves.

I just wrapped up the preliminary story on Saturday night’s fire at the Minnesota Soybean Processors plant in Brewster … some three hours after I changed from my pajamas and picked up Daily Globe photo guy Brian Korthals and headed northeast out of Worthington. Sports editor Aaron Hagen tagged along and ended up being a great help when it came to getting my story and Brian’s photos posted up on our web site as soon as possible.

And to think, if I hadn’t logged onto Facebook to harvest my crops on FarmTown, we might have missed a large part of the action.

When I signed onto my Facebook page Saturday night, fellow Daily Globe employee Samantha Casper had posted a message about the town of Brewster.

Curious, I asked her what was going on … and when she replied in mere minutes that there was a fire at Minnesota Soybean Processors and the town of Brewster had been evacuated, I was on the phone to our photo guy to see if he was up for a little late night road trip. It was 10:55 p.m.

By then we knew that Minnesota 60 was closed, so we headed down I-90 to Nobles County 3, and then traversed gravel roads to make our way closer to the scene.

After Brian took some shots off the roof of my car about a mile away from the plant, we headed toward town and received a pass to go to the Brewster Fire Hall, the base of operations for the Nobles County Sheriff’s Department.

As I waited for Sheriff Kent Wilkening to return to the fire hall, Brian snapped photos of fire trucks from numerous communities that had come in to reload water and foam to fight the blaze. No one I talked to seemed to know anything about where the fire was located in the plant, or the extent of the blaze. I expect more information will be available in the next day or two.

It was amazing to see firefighters from so many different communities respond to the blaze. Just in the time we were at the fire hall, we saw trucks pull in from Brewster, Heron Lake, Rushmore, Fulda, Bigelow, Okabena, Lakefield, Round Lake and Arnold’s Park, Iowa. We were also told that Luverne, Windom, Jackson and Worthington firefighters were on the scene. There may have been more.

Needless to say, it was impressive.

The scanner chatter has mostly cleared now for MnSP … it’s 2:30 a.m. and the adrenaline I’ve been working on has started to wane. I’m tired. Not as tired as the firefighters by any means, I’m sure.

Thanks to all of the emergency workers who responded Saturday night/Sunday morning for the work you did … and the work you always do in a time of need.

For the Daily Globe’s coverage on the fire, visit

3 Responses

  1. Julie Buntjer

    Thanks Cheeky. I drove passed MnSP today and saw the charred areas of two very large storage cylinders. When I saw it I had an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach thinking just how bad things could have been! Our emergency personnel really put their lives on the line for this one.

  2. justine

    Great job, Julie. Good coverage, good photos, and you let Brian stand on your pretty car! The sacrifices reporters make, ha ha.

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