WEST FARGO — The cause of a fire at the Busch Agricultural Resources elevator that caused millions in damages has been ruled undetermined, but operations will be able to continue.
West Fargo Fire Marshal Dell Sprecher said Tuesday, July 30, that the investigation into the fire that occurred July 13 at 1002 Main Ave. W. has concluded.
"We have an area where we know it started, but what started it, we don't know," he said.
The north end of the “north annex” on the roof of the towering building and a portion of the roof were damaged in the fire. Sprecher said the company is self-insured but the fire caused an estimated $3 million in damage due to a loss of grain from smoke and water damage.
"We're trying to get back to business as usual," Paul Bolin, director of Midwest Malt Operations, said Tuesday. "We are currently looking at our next steps."
The elevator stored barley, which is shipped to the Busch Agricultural Resources' Moorhead malt plant and used to make pale malt for Anheuser Busch’s Budweiser and Michelob beers. The finished malt is then shipped to breweries on the East Coast and in the Midwest.
Bolin said the area that was damaged was relatively small and large portions of the elevator remain operational. The elevator continues to accept and ship its usual amounts of grain. The five full-time employees at the elevator will not be affected by the fire, Bolin said.
The stubborn fire burned about 15 hours before being fully extinguished, Sprecher said. Two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion after battling the blaze in roughly 90-degree temperatures.