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Sheriff: Clinton grain elevator fire contained, but not extinguished

Officials said the elevator itself is a complete loss, but nearby grain storage bins should be salvageable.

CLINTON, Minnesota — Firefighters from three states and 12 different departments responded to a massive fire at a grain elevator in Clinton, Minnesota Sunday morning. The effort is still going 24 hours later.

According to Big Stone County Sheriff Mark Brown, crews were called at around 10:45 a.m. Sunday to the grain tower. As of 11 a.m. Monday, he said the fire is contained but not yet considered extinguished. 

Brown said crews are pumping water from Lake Eli, so Highway 75 remains closed. Officials hope to reopen it at some point Monday. 

The fire prompted officials to evacuate residents within a three-block radius of the blaze earlier Sunday. That order was lifted Sunday night, but crews remained on the scene. Residents are still being asked to help conserve water. 

Brown said the elevator itself is a complete loss, but nearby grain storage bins should be salvageable. At some point Monday crews are expected to start salvaging what they can of the wheat stored in the facility. That process may cause some additional smoke to billow up. 

Clinton is a small western Minnesota town near the South Dakota border. 

Resident Janine Torgerson Teske posted a live video of the blaze to social media, asking for prayers for the firefighters on the scene.

"Our community could use your prayers right now, our elevator's on fire," she said. 

Jake Lillehaug witnessed the fire. He said, "It's sad to see the largest structure in town up in flames, it’s nothing that you see out here.”

Holli Kellen works at a local grocery store in Clinton. She said people have dropped off donations and supplies for fire crews battling the blaze. "The support from the community, and everybody that came out, was amazing."

Officials said no injuries have been reported. 

At the point there is still no official word on what may have caused the fire.

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