Historical Society’s ‘frozen’ records brought to Texas for restoration

Kathleen J. McCully, Executive Director
Isanti County Historical Society

Week nine and still recovery is very slow. Tuesday our computers and network will be set up, then to load softwares and we will be back in business. Keep your fingers crossed.

The day after the fire it was very evident that we needed to have a means to freeze our recovered documents and photos. Freezing inhibits the growth of mold, which starts in about 48 hours. I contacted Larson Implement to see what the cost of renting a freezer truck would be and Lance Larson generously donated a freezer truck for us to keep on-sight during recovery. What I thought would be a couple of weeks, turned into five, and at nine weeks, we still have a few frozen items. We even froze textiles that were wet because we could not dry them all at once and mold was beginning.

As soon as we pulled fire and water-soaked materials from the building and artifact room, they went into the deep freeze. A Request for Proposal was sent to a number of companies that do freeze-drying, of which Belfor was one. After hearing about the enormity of our loss, they offered to donate their services for freeze-drying. From the smallest medical record to an entire library system, Belfor is the leader in paper recovery. Large capacity freeze-dry chambers and highly-trained personnel are located at key regional centers around the country. Their representative in Minnesota has been more than helpful and has guided me through the needed steps to get our documents to them.

This past weekend our “frozen” records were driven to Ft. Worth, Texas to Belfor Property Restoration to be freeze dried. So, everything was wrapped in plastic and dry-ice for the trip and left on Sunday. It should have arrived in Texas on Monday, so by the time this issue goes to press, I may even know how long it will take before it will be back. Freeze drying of paper and books removes all of the moisture and odor so we can trim the burned parts and keep the originals, scan them and/or make duplicates. We do have our work cut out for us.

I can only think of everyone that has been so gracious and kind, extra helpful, generous with their time and donations as Heroes for History. Larson Implement and Belfor Property Restoration fit that category this week. Without the ability to freeze large amounts we would have lost everything and would have been up a creek without a paddle. Then, to be able to have it dried by Belfor, the worldwide leader in disaster recovery and property restoration, we can only say thank you over and over again.

Our journey continues at snails pace, but things are looking much warmer and drier now that the documents have left for processing. You can learn more about document recovery at www.belfor.com, and about available trucks at www.larsonimplements.com.

Monetary donations can be made by mail, at our website, or directly at Cambridge State Bank. For all other inquiries, visit www.ichs.ws, follow us on Facebook, call us at 763-689-4229, email at [email protected] or drop us a letter at 33525 Flanders St. NE, Cambridge, MN 55008.