By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Fire ripped through several structures at Dan and Jerry’s Greenhouse in Monticello Thursday, destroying thousands of plants.

WCCO’s Reg Chapman reports on the investigation into what caused the fire.

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“They saw the flames and actually ran out then notified everybody,” HR Manager for Dan and Jerry’s, Kathy Connell said.

Four people working for Dan and Jerry’s Greenhouse in Monticello were the first to notice the fire. They tried putting it out with fire extinguishers but the flames were too much.

Credit: Dan & Jerry’s Greenhouses

Fire crews from Monticello, Buffalo and Maple Lake were there within minutes.

“A fully involved greenhouse, a lot of heavy black smoke, its obviously very windy out of the west and so there was a newer pole building that the fire was pushing to,” Monticello Assistant Chief Jake Olinger said.

The fire burned hot and fast, but crews were able to put it out within minutes of their arrival. Many in the area were concerned about the black smoke rising from the greenhouses.

Credit: Dan & Jerry’s Greenhouses

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“Typically it’s just going to be the plastic that burns that darker color until we get water on it and it turns lighter because of the steam,” Olinger explained. “So because of the other fire, the Becker fire, people are really concerned when they see dark black smoke but with new construction chair tables everything plastic it’s just going to burn a little bit darker.”

Since the fire was put out so fast, Monticello Assistant Fire Chief Jake Olinger says people who live close by should not be concerned about air quality.

“We put a lot of work into those little plants and we actually just started building those greenhouses in the last two years, so to lose them, it’s rough,” Connell said.

The fire destroyed all they prepared for the busy growing season.

Credit: Dan & Jerry’s Greenhouses

“They are coming from seed so they have already been seeded they started in December and they were big enough to be transferred into pots that you folks would buy,” Connell said.

Owners are just happy no one was hurt.

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Dan and Jerry’s Greenhouses sell plants to Mill Fleet Farm, Runnings and Tyson’s in Iowa. They have greenhouses in South Dakota, Iowa and here in Minnesota.

Reg Chapman