Half of county environmental services building lost to fire
By Reed Anfinson
Damage to the Swift County Environmental Services from a fire Monday, Aug. 7, was extensive and will result in the need to replace the southern half of the facility.
A structural engineer has looked at the building and said it can’t be repaired, Environmental Services Director Scott Collins told the Monitor-News Monday.
While the cause of the fire has yet to be determined by the Minnesota State Fire Marshal’s office, Collins said it was likely due to spontaneous combustion. The heat from batteries thrown in with the garbage, or some other source, could have created the source that ignited into flames, he said.
Collins said that the firewall that separated the north half from the south half of the building saved it. Without the fire wall, the facility would likely have been a total loss.
Operations are continuing at the facility, but significant changes will have to be implemented. The baling machine that would take piles of plastics, aluminum cardboard, office paper, and tin, was lost in the fire. The county would then sell those recyclables to businesses that reprocess it.
Now Environmental Services will use a compactor to bundle all the recycles together and they will be shipped out to the Twin Cities where they will be sorted. It will mean the loss of much of the recycling revenue the county was earning, Collins said.
It will also mean the loss of income for the Swift County Development Achievement Center (DAC), who clients were hired help sort the recyclables.