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Fire breaks out at Cloquet business

A huge plume of black smoke rose north of Cloquet after a large fire broke out at the Cloquet Interiors store at 227 Minnesota Highway 33 just before 4 p.m. Thursday.

t050318 --- Clint Austin --- 050418.N.DNT.CLOQUETFIRE.C01 --- At least one of the buildings at Cloquet Interiors is fully engulfed in flames during a fire at the property Thursday along Highway 33 north of Cloquet. The smoke plume was large enough to be seen from West Duluth. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)
At least one of the buildings at Cloquet Interiors is fully engulfed in flames during a fire at the property Thursday along Highway 33 north of Cloquet. The smoke plume was large enough to be seen from West Duluth. (Clint Austin / caustin@duluthnews.com)

A huge plume of black smoke rose north of Cloquet after a large fire broke out at the Cloquet Interiors store at 227 Minnesota Highway 33 just before 4 p.m. Thursday.

The adjacent highway was closed while crews tried to keep the fire from spreading to the dry grass, brush and trees that surround the site. According to Cloquet Area Fire District Chief Kevin Schroeder, the main showroom and carpet warehouse were the site of the fire.

Law enforcement officials closed off Highway 33 at the intersection well into the evening, causing traffic to back up at both ends.

Cloquet Interiors is owned by the Abrahamson family, although the current owner is listed as Jim Abrahamson, according to the Better Business Bureau.

Eleanor Abrahamson lives on Highway 33, not far from the business her husband started 58 years ago. She told the Pine Journal she was at home reading a book when she found out the building was on fire. She and her son said they had heard three of the four buildings were gone - all of them filled with carpet and linoleum.

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Abrahamson said she was “heartbroken” and wouldn’t comment further on the fire.

The Cloquet Police Department issued a statement late Thursday evening warning that residents in the northern half of Cloquet and Esko could be affected by smoke from the fire. At that point, crews were planning to use heavy machinery to breach the building, a move which was expected to increase smoke plumes, police said.

The News Tribune contributed to this report.

Check back for updates.

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