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Southern MN city suffers 'huge loss' when fire destroys Main Street shops


A small community in southern Minnesota suffered a "huge loss" when a fire destroyed several businesses on the city's Main Street, the Madelia Police Department said on Facebook.

Tuesday's blizzard made it hard for first responders to get to the fire, which started at a business on Main Street in Madelia around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, KEYC reports. Madelia got about 10 inches of snow in the storm, the National Weather Service's website shows.

At least eight businesses suffered damage, including: Culligan Water, Kay's Upholstery, Hope and Faith Floral and Gift, La Plaza Fiesta Mexican Restaurant, American Family Insurance, a dental office and a hair salon, City Administrator Jane Piepgras told the St. James Plaindealer.

Michelle VanHee, the co-owner of the Madelia Times Messenger newspaper, told the Mankato Free Press the loss of so many family-owned businesses is "devastating."

It's not clear how the fire started, but the Star Tribune is reporting there was "an explosion of some sort" at Hope and Faith Floral around 3 a.m. Piepgras told KEYC there were "several small explosions" that shattered windows of businesses across the street.

Multiple fire departments were called to the scene to assist in firefighting efforts, and by 7:30 a.m. city officials told the Mankato Free Press the fire seemed under control.

No injuries have been reported, The Associated Press says.

The State Fire Marshal tweeted investigators are on their way to the scene to look into what caused the fire.

Madelia is a city of roughly 2,300 people located about 25 miles south of Mankato. People in the community have been reflecting on the city's loss and have started a GoFundMe page to help the affected businesses.

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