Cybex fire

Emergency personnel respond to a small fire inside the Cybex building in Owatonna Thursday evening that forced the evacuation of the facility. (Jeffrey Jackson/People’s Press)

OWATONNA — A fire in a piece of machinery in the Cybex building in Owatonna Thursday evening forced the evacuation of all employees while firefighters worked to extinguish the blaze.

The fire broke out in a smoke-collection system in the manufacturing plant shortly after 9 p.m. and filled the building with smoke, according to Arik Brase, fire commander for the Owatonna Fire Department. By the time Brase and the five units from the department arrived on the scene at Cybex in the city’s industrial park, all the employees had been evacuated from the building, he said.

No one was hurt in the incident, he said.

The employees stood in the parking lot watching as emergency personnel addressed the situation.

“There was actual fire in the machine when we got there,” Brase said, though he added that there was much more smoke than fire.

The fire was contained to the one unit and to the welding curtains in the machine next to it, Brase said.

“This one was a pretty easy one to deal with,” Brase said. “Their sprinkler system helped us.”

Brase said they have not determined the cause of the fire.

Assisting the fire department at the scene were the Owatonna Police Department, the Steele County Sheriff’s Office, Owatonna Public Utilities and Mayo Ambulance.

Emergency personnel cleared the scene by 10:17 p.m.

Calls to Cybex were not returned.

Reach Managing Editor Jeffrey Jackson at 444-2371 or follow him on Twitter @OPPJeffrey.

Jeffrey Jackson is the managing editor of the Owatonna People's Press. He can be reached at 507-444-2371 or via email at

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