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A storage barn belonging to Paul Kern went up in flames early Thursday morning northwest of Park Rapids. (Sarah Smith / Enterprise)

Storage barn burns northwest of Park Rapids, destroying race car and tools

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News Park Rapids,Minnesota 56470
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Storage barn burns northwest of Park Rapids, destroying race car and tools
Park Rapids Minnesota PO Box 111 56470

Paul Solberg stared at the charred remains of his race car and struggled to keep his composure.

"This was $10,000," he said of the burned out hulk he used to drag race in. "Over there," he said, pointing to a smoldering pile, "that was my new engine block."


He ticked off an inventory of tools and shook his head.

'I lost $20,000 today," he said quietly.

An early morning fire Thursday northwest of Park Rapids caused "substantial damage" to a storage barn and small manufacturing shop, said Park Rapids Fire Chief Donn Hoffman.

"I almost called in mutual aid" to quell the blaze that was called in shortly after 3 a.m. Thursday.

The building is owned by Paul Kern, Solberg's friend and co-worker.

The state fire marshal arrived on the scene shortly after 8 a.m. to try to determine the cause of the blaze.

Hoffman called in 20 firefighters to respond, beside himself.

"It was a substantial loss," Hoffman said of the building off 129th Avenue.

For Solberg it was a wrenching scene.

"My insurance policy was supposed to go into effect Jan. 1," he said.