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Historic Minnesota Flour Mill Reduced To Debris, Ash

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FREEPORT, Minn. (WCCO) — A landmark that stood over a small Minnesota town for more than 100 years is now gone.

Home video shows a roaring fire that ripped through the Swany White Flour Mill in Freeport Tuesday night. The 3-story building collapsed after the fire burned for more than two hours.

Meanwhile, Freeport’s community stood and watched in awe and disbelief. They couldn’t believe the mill was gone.

“There was nothing you can do,” said Freeport Fire Chief Noah Van Beck. “We tried to do our best, and our hands were tied. We just tried to protect the buildings that were around and keep the damage to a minimum.”

Freeport Mayor Matt Worms used to visit the mill as a child.

“We’d come up to Freeport yearly and pick up flour at Swany White. It’s an icon and it’s sad to see it gone,” said Worms.

Cliff Borgerding’s relatives sold the mill to the current owner.

“Being 114 years old, the wood is like tinder,” said Borgerding. “I’m sure once it caught fire, there was no stopping it.

There are two fires in Freeport that can compare to the one on Tuesday. Years ago, Sacred Heart Church was destroyed. Also, in 1917, an entire block was destroyed by fire.

Those were rebuilt. So far, it is not known whether or not there will be a new Swaney White Mill.

Freeport is about 90 miles up Interstate 94 from the Twin Cities.

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