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Arnold's Case-IH partially open this morning, fire cause still under investigation

Firefighter personnel respond June 6 to the fire at Arnold's of Willmar building on Highway 71 S in Willmar. Tribune photo by Ron Adams

WILLMAR — Arnold’s of Willmar is offering “very limited” services this morning and officials at the Case IH dealership are accessing the fire and smoke damage caused by Thursday evening’s fire at the shop.

The building has extensive smoke and soot damage and has limited electrical power, according to Kraig DeJong, the store manager. DeJong has been working with fire investigators and insurance officials this morning and is gathering key decision-makers for the business to access the situation.

Related story: Video: Arnold's of Willmar, Minn., damaged in fire

“We are trying to keep going to serve our customers,” he said, adding that all the doors and windows of the shop are open in an effort to ventilate the smoke for employee safety. “We need to take care of our employees as well as our customers.”

Because the fire was located in the shop, there is smoke smell and soot in the main lobby and parts service area, where most of the dealership’s customers are served, he said.

The cause of the fire, which was reported at 8:23 p.m. Thursday, is still under investigation, according to Willmar Fire Chief Gary Hendrickson. However, the suspected cause is a mechanical issue with a piece of machinery in the building.

Hendrickson said the investigation had eliminated any suspicion of arson or malice.

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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