Cleanup to begin soon at former warehouse site

Cleanup will soon begin at the site of the former Merrick warehouse, which burned down in a large fire on Dec. 3.

The city of Albert Lea on Tuesday announced it had received a court order allowing for the cleanup at the site, 601 W. Main St., and that it had received quotes from businesses to do the work. The city accepted the low bid and signed a contract with Dulas Excavating.

Equipment will soon be arriving at the site, and the cleanup should be complete in early January.

The cause of the fire was deemed undetermined though the Albert Lea Fire Department stated human interaction was believed to be involved because the building had no power, gas or utilities of any kind. Because the damage was so severe, investigators could not determine if the human interaction was accidental or intentional.

The blaze completely destroyed the warehouse and led to the evacuation of 13 homes nearby because of heavy smoke. Some of the homes sustained siding damage from the high heat.

Testing of the site is ongoing and has revealed no hazardous materials to date.