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Shop burns in Leaf River bottoms

Kevin Cederstrom herald@eot.com An early morning fire destroyed a large shop belonging to a local contractor in the Leaf River bottoms Sunday south of New York Mills. Deer Creek and NY Mills firefighters responded to the fire call about 6:45 a.m....

Kevin Cederstrom

herald@eot.com

An early morning fire destroyed a large shop belonging to a local contractor in the Leaf River bottoms Sunday south of New York Mills.

Deer Creek and NY Mills firefighters responded to the fire call about 6:45 a.m. at the Jim and Sheila Seelhammer residence on Leaf River Road, just west of County Highway 67. The first of two workshops caught fire and was reportedly fully engulfed when firefighters from both departments were called out. An adjacent shop was then consumed by fire before firefighters reached the scene, which is located about 10 miles south of Mills and west of County Highway 67.

Jim, who goes by the nickname Slam and owns Slammer Construction, said he would likely need to come up with a list of items for insurance purposes and the fire destroyed many tools, machinery and materials used for his construction business.

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The 28 by 44-foot shop on the north end of the structure caught on fire first was the primary work shop for Slammer's. The shop was built in 1980 and Jim runs his construction business with help from his four sons, Jake, Josh, Ross and Casey.

The fire is believed to have started shortly before 6:30 a.m. Sunday.

Jim said he woke up around 5 a.m. and went back to sleep, and at 6:30 a.m. Sheila saw flickering flames reflecting in their bedroom window.

"That's when she woke me up and said: 'Oh my gosh Slam, the shop's on fire'. I went outside and the back end had flames coming out of the roof."

Along with the many tools of Slam's trade destroyed in the fire was a 2008 4-door, 1-ton diesel work pick-up. The truck was parked in a breezeway between the two shops. Also destroyed were a 4-wheeler, compressors, tools, scaffolding and 1,400 linear feet of special order wood trim for a house Slam is currently building.

One thing that will be nearly impossible to replace, Slam said Sunday, is the 1962 Ford unibody pickup he was in the process of restoring. Working on the old truck in his spare time was a fun project and made for a nice hobby, he added.

After spreading from the main shop the fire destroyed an adjacent 28 by 40-foot wood working shop containing antique furniture Sheila was in the process of restoring.

Also connected to the structure were a couple lean-tos on the backside of the building.

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There were no injuries and the cause of the fire is not known.

The fire stayed contained to the site after firefighters arrived and the house located just up the driveway was not damaged.

Looking over the rubble with family Sunday, Slam said he and his sons are in the building business and they'll put up another shop up as soon as they can.

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