SLAYTON — The warehouse area of a Slayton printing plant was extensively damaged in a fire Wednesday afternoon, and a total of four people were treated for smoke inhalation, Slayton Police said.
One person was later airlifted to Regions Hospital in St. Paul for observation, and was expected to be released Thursday, said Slayton Police Chief Jeremy Steinle.
Jim Keul, one of the owners of Page 1 Printers, said Thursday that all four people were “doing fine,” and employees and area community members were working to get the plant running again.
“It is serious,” Keul said. The fire did damage one of Page 1’s machines, some printed materials and some of their inventory of paper in the warehouse, he said. “But everyone’s healthy, and we can see everything getting up and functioning soon.”
The Murray County Sheriff’s Office dispatch got a fire alarm call at Page 1 Printers around 4 p.m. Wednesday. A person at the scene also confirmed there was a fire in the warehouse area of the plant, Slayton Police said. When law enforcement arrived, heavy smoke and fire were seen coming from the warehouse. Officers evacuated people inside the building, and the Murray County Ambulance was called to evaluate patients who were inside during the fire, Slayton Police said.
Around 6 p.m., the Slayton Fire Department called the Lake Wilson Fire Department for help with manpower. Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the warehouse area of the plant.
Four people were transported to Murray County Medical Center for smoke inhalation treatment, Steinle said. Three were treated and released, and the fourth was later airlifted to St. Paul for observation of non life-threatening injuries, Steinle said.
“I would like to commend the Slayton and Lake Wilson Fire Departments, along with the Murray County Ambulance, for a job well done,” Steinle said. “Their skilled actions prevented loss of life and ensured that a valuable business in Slayton was not lost. I would also like to thank my officers and the deputies of the Murray County Sheriff’s Office for their work keeping the scene safe and allowing the fire departments to operate without interference.”
Keul said Page 1 has received “wonderful” support from Slayton area businesses and employees in the aftermath of the fire. Neighboring businesses offered office space, and Page 1 staff have taken on extra work after the fire, he said. Electricity has been restored to the plant, but Page 1 still needs to check over its printing equipment, because the machines are sensitive to ash and dust from the fire, Keul said.
“We’ve had generous offers from three or four printers in the area,” to help with Page 1’s production work until the printing equipment is running again, he said.
Normally, the printers are competitors, Keul said.
“When it comes down to this, we work together,” he said.