(Video courtesty Mark Goehner) Flames shot high into the air in the small town of Ottertail Wednesday night, as fire ripped through Periwinkle Marketplace, nearly spreading next door the liquor store. The dramatic scene along Highway 78 started around 8:30 p.m. as fire crews from eight communities attempted to put out the fire. Periwinkle was fully engulfed and well on its way to destruction, though, by the time crews arrived.
“Our goal at that point was to save the liquor store, which is attached,” said Ottertail Fire Chief Stuart Fleischauer, who says they knew they had to physically detatch the two buildings if the relatively new liquor store was to be saved. “So we called in an excavator, who pulled the building apart and separated it. There’s minor damage—just a little bit of water damage—but there’s no smoke damage or anything. It was completely untouched.”
The liquor store is reportedly open for business today, but that bit of good news was certainly overshadowed by the bad news next door, as Periwinkle, the quaint little boutique that is known for its clothing, furniture and decor, is a total loss.
Although the fire is still under investigation, Fleischauer says there was a car being worked on inside an attached shed area of the building that started on fire.
“They tried to get it out but were unable to,” said Fleischauer, who says he estimates the Periwinkle building being constructed in the 1980’s.
Roughly 50 firefighters worked until about midnight when the flames were out and they were able to clear the scene. Ottertail Fire was assisted by crews from Battle Lake, Henning, Perham, New York Mills, Vergas, Bluffton and Dent.