"It's terrifying that this would happen in a small-town, close-knit community like this," Ryan said. "Thirty-eight years I've been down here, and I've never seen anything like this."
Ryan was looking at the new city hall, destroyed by fire late Sunday after being the divisive issue in the city's
That call came from
He said the building was fully engulfed with flames reaching 20 to 30 feet in the air. He said they were visible from a mile away.
"I was the first on the scene," he said. "I didn't see anyone around the fire."
Halverson said a sheriff's office detective was on the scene Monday, along with an investigator from the state fire marshal's office, to try to determine the cause of the fire, which is suspicious in origin.
The sheriff's office put out a Code Red around
"I can't believe it. I can't believe this has happened here," city councilwoman Ryan said.
He estimated the fire caused
Parkos, vice president of
He said the heat of the fire cracked the building's foundation and caused structural damage. "We would have to redo the foundation and start from square one," he said. "It wasn't something I wanted to wake up to this morning."
The structure was to replace the old city hall on
Thone said she had been in contact with the
"There was so much smoke," he said. "I've been here since 1968. Things like this don't happen here, not in our quiet little valley."
It took about 30 minutes for the
Anyone with information about the fire should call the sheriff's office at 651-439-9381 or its tips line at 651-430-7850.
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