Sartell paper mill offline for repair before blaze - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

Sartell paper mill offline for repair before blaze

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SARTELL, Minn. (AP) -- A Sartell paper mill that was badly damaged in a Memorial Day explosion and fire had been shut down to repair a leaking water pipe shortly before the blaze.

The St. Cloud Times reports  that the shutdown caused the plant to switch its source of cooling water for compressors. Employees later cited those compressors as the spot where they saw smoke and flames just before the explosion, as the plant was being brought back online.

The newspaper said the information is in statements from nine employees to police that it obtained in a data request. The state fire marshal's office hasn't finished its investigation and hasn't released any information about a possible cause.

One man died and four other workers were hurt. Most of the mill's workers have been laid off and it's expected to be idle into the fall.

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