Fire damages historic dairy cooperative

Associated Press
Burnett Dairy Cooperative

BURNETT, WI – Crews from eight fire departments were called in to battle a blaze at a dairy cooperative that is one of Burnett County's largest employers and is a popular stop for tourists in western Wisconsin. 

Sheriff's officials said the fire at Burnett Dairy Cooperative was reported about 10:30 p.m. Monday, July 20. Employees working in the cooperative located near Grantsburg, were able to make it out safely. Officials say it appears the fire was the result of a mechanical malfunction, officials said. 

The co-op is over 120-year-old; the portion of the building most damaged by the fire was the original, oldest section of the facility.

“My great uncle was a butter maker at the creamery across the street,” Dan Bengtson, who grew up in Grantsburg, told CBSN Minnesota. “It’s kind of a special place for our family.” She stopped by to watch the fire crews, knowing the co-op was a special place for local families and communities.

The fire was still burning, but under control by Tuesday morning. No injuries were reported. The Wisconsin Department of Transportation temporarily closed Highway 70 near Grantsburg. 

Firefighters from Grantsburg, Siren, Webster, Frederic, Cushing, St. Croix Hertel, Pine City and Rush City all helped in the battle to save the cooperative.