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Photo by Paul Gregersen/EOT Focus The Mills Locker Plant was destroyed by fire Sunday night.

Fire destroys Mills Locker Plant

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business Wadena,Minnesota 56482
Wadena PJ
Fire destroys Mills Locker Plant
Wadena Minnesota 314 S. Jefferson 56482

A fire that began Sunday and stretched into Monday has destroyed the Mills Locker Plant in New York Mills.

The building is a total loss. The cause of the blaze is still under investigation.


Amanda and Whitman Briard purchased the business when they were just teenagers.

Ten years and four children later, the Mills Locker Plant was one of the last meat lockers in the area. The business had just been remodeled, and the ten-year anniversary had been celebrated a little over a month ago.

The plant was full of processed meat during the time of the fire.

Five fire departments tried to save this building, but with no success. No other buildings on the street were damaged.

"All it needed was air to get it moving. We could not save it," said New York Mills Fire Chief Reed Jacobson.

Family and friends said the couple is devastated.

"They did a fantastic job. It is just really sad. They have four young children and it is sad to see a family go through this. It is a bad deal," said family member Hunter Briard.

Not only does the family mourn the loss, but the town also mourns with them.

"You hate to see another business leave New York Mills," said Jacobson.

In spite of their loss, the family is still hopeful. A sign next to the burned locker plant tells the town that they are planning on reopening as soon as possible.

David Virnala, an employee at the locker plant during the 1970s, said the facility was built in the late 1940s and remained one of the best lockers in the nation.