Rainy Lake Oil Co. was open for business Tuesday at a new location even after a massive fire Monday night destroyed the home heating oil and fuel company’s warehouse and office just outside International Falls.

The fire, reported just after 7 p.m., caused explosions at the company's headquarters that lit up the night sky on the south side of International Falls just off U.S. Highway 53.

There were no injuries reported.

A company employee said both oil storage tanks and several oil delivery trucks were destroyed  in the blaze that drew fire departments from as far away as Littlefork. Janelle Heem, who works in the office, told the News Tribune that the company is operating and can make deliveries of home heating oil to customers who need it.

“We have trucks that made it and our suppliers are working great with us to get us product. We are open,” she said Tuesday.

The company has moved its office to Shannon's Square in International Falls and can be reached by calling (218) 283-4477.

Some of the explosions were caused when tanks of racing fuel, methanol and propane were engulfed in the fire. International Falls Fire Chief Adam Mannausau said the fire totally destroyed the company's warehouse and office but spared some of the larger outdoor fuel storage tanks.

“Most of the fuel that burned was inside the warehouse,” he said. Firefighters were on the scene until about 9 a.m. Tuesday.

“We really had to wait for some of it to burn off before we could even start our attack,’’ Mannausau said. “We didn’t have it under control until about 3:30 a.m.”

Crews from rural fire departments joined the International Falls, Littlefork and Fort Frances fire departments and a foam-spraying truck from Falls International Airport. Multiple law enforcement agencies also responded. Two nearby homes were temporarily evacuated as a precaution.

The Minnesota State Fire Marshal's Office is investigating. No cause was known as of Tuesday morning.

 

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