Weather Forecast


Swenson Motor employees wait to assess fire damage to Willmar, Minn., auto dealership

Auto dealership staff stand outside the Swenson Motor Company building Monday morning at 1301 Highway 12 East, Willmar. A fire early Monday morning damaged the auto dealership's building. Tribune photo by Kelly Boldan

WILLMAR -- Employees of Swenson Motor Company at 1301 Highway 12 East in Willmar are waiting for approval to assess damage done to the showroom, shop and vehicles from a fire early this morning.

Sales Manager Pam Frost said this morning that all telephones and computers are not operating. Frost said employees are trying to figure how where they will be able to conduct business. The company has about 35 employees, which include those at the body shop at a separate location.

Frost said several vehicles were in the showroom and several were in the shop when the fire broke out. The amount of damage to those vehicles is unknown at this time, she said. Vehicles located on the outdoor parking lot were not damaged, she said.

The center of the building received fire damage and the remainder of the building received smoke and water damage, according to Frost.

The Willmar Fire Department was called to Swenson Motor at about 12:40 a.m. today after smoke was reported seen coming from the roof of the building. Fire crews found fire in the building and were able to knock down a large amount of fire with initial hand lines. Authorities say fire extended into the roof area.

Willmar firefighters received mutual aid from eight surrounding agencies. Also assisting were Willmar Ambulance Service, Kandiyohi County Rescue Squad, Willmar Police Department, Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office and Minnesota State Fire Marshal's Office.

The fire department, the fire marshal and police department are investigating the cause.

Swenson Motors is a dealership for new and used Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150