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December Fire was 'Devastating' for Globe Elevator Owner

Structure had been there since 1887 and was engulfed within five minutes

Gordy Oftedahl gestured toward what was left of the Globe Elevator in Superior, WI — a pile of charred timber sticking through the snow and a 150-foot steel tower, its frame warped by heat.

The Duluth News Tribune reports that Oftedahl had been slowly removing pieces of white pine and white oak from the 181 year-old structure — once the largest grain elevator in the world — and selling them to carpenters and artists for about $1 per board foot.

But on the afternoon of Dec. 17, the crew tasked with removing wood from the elevator struck a nail or other metal object, causing sparks to fly and igniting a fire.

Oftedahl said within five minutes the elevator — which had sat on that point since 1887 — was engulfed in flames.

"It was really devastating," Oftedahl told the Duluth News Tribune.

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