By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – It’s been a challenging week for fires across the state, and an early morning fire in North Minneapolis was no exception.

Firefighters were called to the 3700 block of Washington Ave just after 4:00 Friday morning, after a passerby called 911 to report smoke coming from a building.

The dome building is located in the Upper Harbor Terminal.

“Visibility was pretty low because of the smoke so we just continued to lay water on it,” said Captain Michael Terry, Minneapolis Fire.

The dome doesn’t have electricity or lighting inside, provided a unique challenge for firefighters.

“It was tough to get to the heart and that’s part of the reason we’ve been here quite a while,” said Terry.

Crews finally left around 11 a.m. Friday morning. The City of Minneapolis owns the property, but the food stored inside wasn’t theirs.

The company that operates the building is called OTI. They take frozen or packaged food, separate the cardboard and plastic, and then they send the food to composting sites.

“In the waste industry no matter what, even dirt can start on fire or combust,” said Max Milinkovich, a site manager for OTI.

Milinkovich said they began using this site as a food transfer station five months ago. Like investigators, he’s not sure what would have started the fire in the early morning hours.

“Very thankful no one was in there or around there when it started,” said Milinkovich. “It’s literally a mystery and it’s going to be a lot of investigating and a lot of head-scratching.”

John Lauritsen

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