Fire strikes Pease Produce

One of Pease’s last remaining businesses went up in flames April 14.
Part of the facilities of Pease Produce, a wholesale processor of fresh eggs, cheese and butter located at 240 Central Ave. in Pease, was destroyed by fire on Tuesday night, April 14.
There were 20,000 to 25,000 eggs lost to the fire, Pease Produce owner Steve Hubers said. They had come in earlier on the day of the fire. Pease Produce also lost two trucks, maybe three, Hubers said.
Witnesses in Pease say they heard an explosion around 11 p.m.
Hubers said he was called by Mille Lacs County Dispatch at about 11:15 p.m. and was told that a woman in town saw the fire as she was letting out her dog.
“She saw an orange glow and told the dispatcher that ‘The Produce’ was on fire.
Hubers and his wife, Anita, who live southwest of Pease, raced to the scene of the fire, he said. Flames were shooting out of the building, Hubers said.
The fire lit up the night sky and wasn’t controlled until early morning. Firefighters from Milaca, Princeton, Zimmerman, Foreston and Onamia were among eight fire departments called to fight the blaze. Hjort Excavating helped in tearing down some of the building after a roof collapsed.
At one point, firefighters were consuming 2,000 gallons of water per minute. Greg Lerud, one of Milaca’s fire chiefs, said tanker trucks were filling with water on the south side of Milaca and from a dry well on the southeast side of Pease. Firefighters cleared the scene at about 3:45 a.m. Wednesday, Lerud said.
“The fire departments did an amazing job. At one point they were concerned that the fire would take everything out,” he said, referring to nearby businesses, including the Pease Cafe. Only Pease Produce was affected by the fire. An adjacent Pease Produce building housing storage and a secondary cooler did not burn to the ground.
The building that burned is a former location of Timmer Implement. It housed Pease Produce’s office, a dock, the company’s primary cooler, storage and a packing facility.
Steve Hubers said the business plans to rebuild. Earlier this year his son-in-law bought into the business as Huber’s partner.
“We need to rebuild for him. It’s his future,” Hubers said.