Verso official says Sartell mill needs "several months" of repairs

The Memphis-based paper company will wait to make any decision about reopening its Sartell mill until it has complete information on the damage caused by last month's explosion and fire. It could take a few months just to gather that information. The company says more than 5,000 tons of paper were destroyed in the accident that also killed one employee and injured four others.
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The Memphis-based paper company will wait to make any decision about reopening its Sartell mill until it has complete information on the damage caused by last month's explosion and fire. It could take a few months just to gather that information. The company says more than 5,000 tons of paper were destroyed in the accident that also killed one employee and injured four others.

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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.

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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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Verso Paper Corp. on Monday paid the city of Sartell in full – about $398,000 – for its response to a Memorial Day fire that ultimately led to the permanent closing of the company's paper plant, the St. Cloud Times reports. There were 92 agencies from across the state that helped fight the blaze and 68 of those sought repayment.

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