A fire that broke out Monday morning has destroyed the Corral Saloon and Eatery in Nelson. Firefighters of Osakis said they received the page at 10:44 a.m. Someone driving through town noticed the smoke and flames. Fire departments from Osakis, Alexandria, Forada and Carlos responded by approximately 11 am. They noticed smoke billowing out of the restaurant portion of the building.
An Osakis firefighter said that there are no hydrants in Nelson. There is a cistern near the ball field that is used in emergency’s like this. The rest of the water was all trucked in. Over 8,000 gallons was used from the Osakis department before heading back for a refill. Ladder 28 from the Alexandria fire department helped turn the tide with their aerial firefighting capability. Thousands of gallons of water was able to pour down from above, saving the liquor store structure for the time being.
An employee reported that “Only one small bottle of liquor was damaged. It’s amazing, all the other bottles looked ok. There’s just one corner of damage.”
Owner, Sue Hawkinson, who’s heart and soul, was in the business said she is “just numb”. The family owned business was an integral part of the small community, many of the residents including neighbors worked there. The Alexandria fire department offered counseling resources to employees who will continue to process the devastating loss. At this time their biggest ask is thoughts, prayers and thankfulness that no one was injured. Another employee, used humor to initially cope, “All of the Thanksgiving turkeys are smoked this year. Though it’s a shame.”
Firefighters working to put out the blaze in below freezing temps, yet seemed unfazed in their line of duty, said they barely felt the cold. Fire hotspots continued to be managed into the evening
The State Fire Marshal’s Office was investigating the cause of the blaze. An electrical box was pulled to the side, but nothing has yet to be determined. Speaking to an Osakis firefighter volunteer, “It’s amazing what type of information they can pull from a building during an investigation. Just the smallest arc of a copper wire can tell them something. We’re here to make sure we keep the scene as intact as possible so they can do their job.”
Roads were still closed going into Nelson as of 4:45 pm. The cause of the fire is still under investigation.