Former WCCO Broadcaster On Thanksgiving Fire Of 1982

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Dan Hertsgaard was on duty Thanksgiving night 1982, along with News Director Rich Holter when fire broke out at the old Donaldson’s Department store.

More than 100 firefighters responded to the blaze on Nov. 25, 1982.

Investigators believe the blaze started in the debris of the Donaldson’s building, and then quickly spread to the nearby Northwestern National Bank Building.

Hertsgaard said it was a huge fire.

“Hundred foot flames, I mean just explosions, bangs, crashes. It was really something to approach this fire,” Hertsgaard said.

Investigators said they think the fire was a case of arson, likely started by juveniles playing on the debris pile.

“I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said.

No one died or was seriously injured in the fire.

“You could hear on the air, all these explosions happening. All of this glass breaking,” he said.

Hertsgaard said Charles Lindbergh’s plane, the “Jenny” was on display at the bank, and was saved.

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