Fire at St. Paul community center may have been started intentionally

The blaze was reported in the early hours of Sunday morning.
Author:
Publish date:

An early morning fire at a community center on St. Paul's East Side may have been started intentionally.

The blaze at the Conway Community Center was first reported around 3:30 a.m. Sunday, according to the St. Paul Fire Department. The fire was in the exterior entry, and firefighters "quickly extinguished" it before it moved inside.

The Sanneh Foundation, which manages and operates the rec center on behalf of the city, said in a fundraising update that the building was empty a the time, and nobody suffered physical injuries. The west entrance and nearby interior have "moderate structural damage" however, and will be closed temporarily.

Tony Sanneh, founder and CEO of the Sanneh Foundation, said they hope to get their normal family services and youth programs up and running "as soon as possible."

"We are absolutely committed to continuing our mission to provide programs, opportunities and environments that empower youth and improve community well-being without pause, and look forward to when the building is safe to reopen," he said.

The St. Paul Fire Department, with assistance from the city's police department, said the cause of the fire is suspected to be arson.

The nonprofit has put up an online fire recovery fund, and as of Tuesday morning had brought in more than $32,000. 

Conway Community Center provides free programs for kids where they can spend time while not in school. Staff at the center speak more than 18 languages, and each year, they serve more than 30,000 free meals to people, according to the center's website. During the pandemic, the gym was turned into a distance learning center, and operations shifted toward emergency food relief.

Next Up

castaway club camp

Cluster of COVID-19 cases tied to camp in western Minnesota

Ten cases have been reported among staff, report states.

Screen Shot 2021-07-28 at 12.16.13 PM

Rodgers pummels Packers front office in viral press conference

"The rules are the same for most people, but every now and then there are some outliers."

Pexels - mother child mask covid

MDH urging that all wear face masks, 12+ get vaccinated for upcoming school year

State health officials revealed their COVID-19 recommendations for 2021-22.

sunfish 1

Gallery: Aspen-inspired estate on private lake is yours for $4.95M

Each bedroom has its own bathroom. And there are four laundry rooms.

Flickr - Halloween costumes masks shops - Chuck Falzone

Struggling for staff, Mankato Halloween business will put out-of-town workers up in hotels

The business is trying to attract workers from as far away as Iowa and Wisconsin.

Flickr - Mall of America 2018 - Ken Lund

Family of child thrown from balcony in 2019 files lawsuit against Mall of America

The boy suffered serious injuries that have required ongoing care.

vaccine

Here are the vaccination rates of MN counties considered COVID hotspots

These 14 counties have what the CDC considers "substantial" or "high" COVID transmission.

covid-19, coronavirus

Here is Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, July 28

The newest data from the Minnesota Department of Health.

classroom mask

Rochester schools will require face masks for young learners

Students older than 12 are encouraged but not required to wear masks.

Trey Lance

NDSU to feature in FCS heavyweight matchup at US Bank Stadium

The last time the Bison came to Minneapolis they brought 35,000 fans.

Jack Eichel

Report: Wild 'backing out' of Jack Eichel trade talks

The Wild are concerned of the price and cost of a potential deal.

Related

Screen Shot 2019-05-28 at 12.33.40 PM

Numerous 'intentionally set' fires in St. Paul neighborhoods

The fires were reported overnight Sunday into Monday morning.

Screen Shot 2020-01-21 at 9.35.17 AM

Man killed in St. Paul house fire identified as father-of-three

Justin Slanina died in the early hours of Saturday.

A big fire damages a historic mansion in St. Paul

Firefighters sent 10 rigs to the blaze.