FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn – Around 8 p.m. Friday night at the corner of Dan Patch and Underwood Street, fire crews responded to a fire at the World’s Greatest French Fries building.
"It was probably an hour of very tense, you know, tense moments but the fire folks were here in a hurry," said owner Mark Andrew.
Andrew has had a stand at the fair for 44 years. He also owns a nearby s'mores stand, which he started before he opened the fry building. He said about 15 employees were in the building when a fire started in the kitchen. All of them got out safely.
The stand is losing out on more than a day of business, as investigators keep it closed while determining a cause. Andrew says that’s OK, though.
"When you're in a situation where you have to bring in the fire department, that’s the last thing you are thinking about," he said. "Strictly making sure everybody is fine. I am at peace."
Fire crews also closed other nearby stands as they put out the fire. Kathy Block's root beer stand was one of them.
“We smelled smoke," Block said. "I didn’t think anything of it with all the food being made out here. But when I saw workers leave the building I knew, 'OK, they're on fire. Close my windows. Close my vents and get out.'"
Block said some of her business has suffered as part of the intersection remained barricaded on Saturday, but she is also thankful no more damage was done and no one was hurt.
According to a brief statement from the Minnesota State Fair, fire crews temporarily closed three stands as they put out the fire. The cause is still being investigated.
On Sunday, the fair said they hoped the World's Greatest French Fries would be open again on Monday.