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Clay County shop fire investigation ongoing

An investigation into the cause of a Dec.

An investigation into the cause of a Dec. 28 fire that destroyed a Clay County Highway Department shop is ongoing, Sheriff Bill Bergquist said Tuesday, but so far there are no indications that the fire was suspicious in nature.

In addition to the shop near Barnesville, the fire destroyed equipment and several vehicles inside, including three plow trucks, two road graders, a payloader and two pickup trucks.

County Engineer Dave Overbo estimated Tuesday that losses, including the value of the building, may total $1.6 million.

He said the biggest challenge will be to replace the plow trucks because they will be hard to find given the high demand for them this winter.

"Some of the equipment takes several months to get," Overbo said. "So, if we don't get in line with motor graders, or some trucks, we might be looking at April before we get the equipment. It kind of puts the hurt on us for winter maintenance."


As it works to rebuild its fleet, Clay County has received assistance from other counties, including Cass in North Dakota and Becker in Minnesota, he said.

Even so, more help may be needed.

"We did have a (snow) blower burn up, so we're probably going to need assistance with some dozers or additional snowblowing," Overbo said.

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