The St. Charles company caught fire yesterday, forcing the southeastern Minnesota town of about 3600 to evacuate. Residents have now been allowed to return to their homes. North Star Foods co-owner Pat Thesing said the building is a total loss, but he is interested in re-opening, possibly in St. Charles.
"We'll have to iron all that out and see if there is a better location, we'll have to get through all the red tape and see what happens," Thesing said. "To do something new like what we had set up here would probably be in the $60 - 75 million range."
North Star, one of the largest employers in St. Charles, employed 250 people. 150 were working in the building when it caught fire Friday morning.
St. Charles Mayor Bill Spitzer said he will do everything he can to help North Star Foods re-open in town. The meat packing plant opened in 1971.
"It's a major impact to the city of St. Charles," said Spitzer. "This is something we depended heavily on. Not just from a city standpoint, but from the community standpoint and the employment standpoint."
The company also bought water and electricity from the city.
The cause of the fire is still unknown. Three people suffered minor injuries as a result of the blaze.