Early-Morning Fire Destroys Two Businesses in Downtown Perham

Suds and Make Me Wine were the two businesses displaced by the inferno

PERHAM, Minn. — An early–morning fire destroyed two businesses right in the heart of downtown Perham.

Around 5:45 this morning, Perham firefighters responded to reports of smoke at 145 1st Avenue South.

When they arrived, they encountered a full–blown blaze with the potential to engulf the entire block.

“We knew that with the conditions and how downtown laid, and with these older buildings and things like that, initial crews tried to go in for the first initial knockdown, then we went back into a defensive mode. We were trying to keep it contained to few of the buildings here,” said Chief Mark Schmidt of the Perham Fire Department.

When nearby business owners caught wind of the fire, some raced downtown to make sure their stores weren’t affected.

“When we first came, we didn’t see a lot of flames right away but they were pouring a ton of water on it from the top of the ladder and from the ground and from the back as well and then probably ten minutes after we got back, the flames really started back up again,” said Andrea Greiff, the owner of two stores in Downtown Perham (Dot and Minnies, Level III).

Fifty firefighters from Perham, Vergas, Detroit Lakes, Frazee, and New York Mills took a few hours to fully combat the flames.

There were no injuries. Firefighters say no one was inside the building when they arrived.

When the smoke cleared, an old building in Downtown Perham was destroyed.

The two businesses that occupied the building were Suds, a popular bar and grill, as well as Make Me Wine, a store that specialized in making wine-related products.

The blaze also impacted a few surrounding businesses.

“Some other businesses around town are dealing with smoke damage that are even a couple blocks away because of how thick and heavy the fire was,” said Chief Schmidt.

Even with a big hole in the heart of downtown Perham, some business owners say they are confident the void won’t be vacant for too long.

“I don’t know if the same people will rebuild or new people will come in and rebuild, but I know that space will be filled next year at this time,” Greiff said.

The two businesses destroyed by the fire released statements on Facebook thanking firefighters.

In their statement, Make Me Wine says they will make their decision after the holidays, while Suds Tavern has not disclosed what their future plans hold.

Still photographs used in this story courtesy of Andrea Greiff

Categories: Community, Local News, Minnesota News