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Freeport Fire Chief Noah Van Beck stands earlier this month in the fire station in Freeport, Minn., talks about fighting the fire that destroyed the Swany White Flour Mill on Dec. 27, 2011. The mill, owned by retired firefighter Gary Thelen, was the last remaining working flour mill in Minnesota. (AP Photo/The St. Cloud Times, Dave Schwarz)

Fire chief reflects on mill fire anniversary

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FREEPORT, Minn. (AP) — On Dec. 27, 2011, Freeport Fire Chief Noah Van Beck was a witness to a local tragedy — the total loss of Swany White Flour Mill, the last remaining working flour mill in the state and a distinct historical landmark for the town of a little more than 600 people.

About a year later, Van Beck reflected on what many called a tragedy.

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