Memorial Day 2012 was anything but peaceful for Sartell, the town that saw its paper mill explode, taking the life of man and creating the largest fire ever in central Minnesota a year ago.
The St. Cloud Times reports that on Monday, more than 200 people gathered in remembrance at Veterans Park with the silenced Verso Paper mill in the background. A year ago, the explosion took the life of Jon Maus, injured several others and shut down the factory that was older than the city itself, the paper says.
“We continue to grieve the loss of life and the loss of jobs,” Sartell Mayor Joe Perske said Monday, according to the Times.
The mill was the city's largest employer, even though it had endured 175 layoffs in 2011. Now the mill will slowly disappear, the paper reports, as most of the buildings are torn down for scrap metal. AIM Development, a division of Montreal-based American Iron & Metal, bought the site in March for $12.5 million.
The town still feels the hurt, as the paper notes that "throughout the ceremony, attendees wiped away tears and held on to their loved ones."
Maus' sister, Jodi Lingenfelter, attended the ceremony, according to the paper, and said, “For the community, the loss is huge."