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County gets final bill for recent landfill fire and it's not pretty

The Kandiyohi County Landfill. Tribune photo by Gary Miller

A fire last month at Kandiyohi County's landfill that spanned 10 days cost more than $100,000 to put out. The county will have 30 days to pay the $103,058 bill to the city of New London.

"It's kind of where our guestimate was at," County Administrator Larry Kleindl said. "Would I like it to be smaller? Yes. But it is what it is."

The county received the final bill Monday.

Kleindl said he'll take this week to review and verify the invoice. He had questions about the different prices participating fire departments charged for foam used to smother the fire. The total cost for the foam was $36,713, New London City Clerk Trudie Guptill said.

There were also 832,500 gallons of water used, costing $3,121.

A further $62,000 was tallied in expenses for crews and equipment from the New London, Spicer, Willmar, Sunburg, Paynesville, Atwater and Belgrade fire departments.

Those expenses include 674 man-hours provided by the six area fire departments.

Because the New London Fire Department is paid under a contract with Lake Andrew Township, where the landfill is located, the actual number of man-hours the New London crew put in isn't known, Guptill said.

The county will submit the invoice to its insurance company, Minnesota Counties Insurance Trust, which is expected to cover only about $5,000. Kleindl said he'll negotiate with the insurer to see if additional coverage is possible.

He said it's likely money will be taken from the landfill fund and the county's general reserve funds to pay whatever isn't covered.

Glowing embers in the demolition site were first noticed Oct. 22 in demolition waste that had been buried for up to five years. Fire crews were called back repeatedly to the scene over a 10-day period. Spontaneous combustion was cited as the cause of the fire.

State law required the fire to be extinguished through the use of foam.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

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