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Editorial: Endres is a bad neighbor for Rosemount

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Rosemount, 55024
Rosemount Minnesota P.O. Box 192 / 312 Oak St. 55024

There are a number of reasonable responses to finding out a business in your city has had an explosion. Surprise is a good one. So is concern for the business' employees. You never want to find yourself reacting with a, "What, again?"

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Yet that's what we found ourselves saying this week when we learned of an explosion and fire at Rosemount's Endres processing. Nobody was hurt in the Tuesday night accident, thankfully, but that hasn't always been the case at Endres.

One employee was killed and Endres, which processes food waste into an animal feed supplement on Rosemount's east side, was shut down for several months in a 2000 explosion. The next year there was a series of fires at the plant. A smaller explosion in a grain storage bin injured a Rosemount firefighter. In November of 2006 an Endres employee suffocated when he was engulfed in a bin of grain at the plant.

Clearly working at an industrial operation such as Endres carries greater risks than working as a doctor or a lawyer or a newspaper reporter. Accidents happen. But this is a remarkably poor track record.

We have spoken from time to time with the heads of Endres -- rarely under happy circumstances -- and they do not strike us as wholly unconcerned with the welfare of their employees. Not so long ago they announced plans to make the plant more environmentally friendly and reduce the odors created by their processing. It's hard to argue with results, though, and Endres has a well documented history of bad results.

That's bad for Endres employees, but it's also bad news for the city. Fighting those fires costs money and takes time. The more time firefighters have to spend at Endres the less available they are for other calls. Apple Valley firefighters had to cover one call in Rosemount Tuesday night. And while it turned out to be minor -- a broken pipe in a fire suppression system caused by cold weather -- it could have been worse.

It would be a shame to see harm come to a Rosemount family because one business can't clean up its act.

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