Firefighters Battle Bar Fire in Rural St. Louis County

By KBJR News 1

Credit: Doug Pearson

Firefighters Battle Bar Fire in Rural St. Louis County

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August 22, 2013 Updated Aug 22, 2013 at 10:55 PM CDT

Ellsburg Township, MN (NNCNOW.com) - A rural St. Louis County bar was a total loss on Thursday after flames ripped through the building.

At least six fire departments responded to the blaze just after 4:30 Thursday afternoon at the Back 40 Bar in Ellsburg Township near Cotton.

When authorities arrived they say their primary concern wasn't only the engulfed structure, but the dry heavily wooded area surrounding the building.

An early video from an eyewitness showed the high flames and thick black smoke firefighters had to knock down.

Due to the rural location of the fire and lack of hydrants authorities had to use nearby West Bass Lake for water supply to extinguish the blaze.

Departments including Ellsburg, Cotton, Makinen, Colvin and Central Lake were the first on the scene.

Authorities say because of the dry conditions in the area, the DNR was called in to prevent spreading.

"We called the DNR because it did go into the woods a little bit, we were fortunate and were able to grab it before it got to far into the woods, but yes we did call them out so they did come out here," said Chief Jason Doughty, Central Lakes Fire Department.

The St. Louis County Sheriff's Department said the fire likely sparked near a propane tank.

Neighbors around West Bass Lake tell us the bar has been closed for several years.

Authorities say it's too soon to tell how the fire started, however residents of West Bass Lake say the bar housed several Flat Track motorcycles which were all lost in the fire.

Authorities say the incident is under investigation.

Jeremy Brickley
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