Idle Sartell paper mill hurting Minnesota loggers

The shutdown of Sartell's Verso Paper Mill has created an economic ripple effect. Northern Minnesota loggers who sell their timber to the mill are feeling it, as are those who make and maintain the mill's equipment. Local officials want the state to help Verso repair the damage of last month's explosion and fire.
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The shutdown of Sartell's Verso Paper Mill has created an economic ripple effect. Northern Minnesota loggers who sell their timber to the mill are feeling it, as are those who make and maintain the mill's equipment. Local officials want the state to help Verso repair the damage of last month's explosion and fire.

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Report on cause of Sartell paper mill fire released

Investigators say the fire at Sartell's Verso paper mill was caused by an overheated compressor. There was a severe loss of pressure in the water that normally cooled the equipment. The subsequent explosion and fire killed one worker and damaged the plant, which the company recently announced will not reopen.

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Verso Paper has decided against reopening the Sartell mill that was damaged by an explosion and fire on Memorial Day. 259 people had worked at the plant. A company executive says it was a difficult decision, but the mill had not been competitive in recent years. Verso says it will work with local officials on finding a new use for the site.

Flare ups continue at Sartell paper mill as demolition work begins

Small fires are still flaring up at the Verso paper mill, nearly a week after an explosion at the Sartell plant killed one worker and injured five others. On Sunday crews began demolishing the part of the plant where the explosion occurred. A city official says the hot spots pose no threat to public safety.

Dayton, officials pledge support for Sartell in wake of paper mill closing

Gov. Mark Dayton and other government officials said Friday that they will pledge support for the city of Sartell after Verso Paper Corp. announced it was shutting down its fire-damaged paper mill for good. Dayton, who was in Sartell with U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and other lawmakers, vowed to use his clout to bring jobs back to the Verso site. More than 260 employees worked at the plant.

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The owners changed over the years, but Sartell's paper mill has provided hundreds of jobs for more than a century. Those days are gone following Verso Paper's decision not to reopen the fire-damaged plant. Now Gov. Dayton will put together a task force to look at how to reuse the 37 acre site on the Mississippi River. Verso says it will share its list of potential buyers.

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In documents obtained by the St. Cloud Times, employees at the Verso Paper plant in Sartell describe to police how plant operations were halted in May for repairs, and that the plant was just being brought online again when an explosion and fire ripped through the facility, killing one and injuring four.

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