The fire that destroyed the Press Bar and Parlor in downtown St. Cloud has been ruled arson, and the owner of the popular central Minnesota nightclub has been arrested.
The arson ruling came Saturday after investigators from the ATF, St. Cloud Fire Department, St. Cloud Police Department and State Fire Marshal's Office determined the Feb. 17 as incendiary.
Press Bar's owner, a St. Joseph, Minnesota, man, was arrested Saturday and booked into Stearns County Jail on pending arson-related charges.
Bring Me The News does not typically name people accused of crimes until formal charges are filed.
The fire was reported around 2:40 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 17, with firefighters being forced to fight the blaze from a defensive standpoint as part of the building collapsed. It took nearly 12 hours of firefighting to extinguish the flames, with the building ultimately being demolished.
While the fire operation was ongoing Feb. 17, the Press Bar and Parlor Facebook page released the following message of thanks to firefighters and supporters.
"We would like to thank our St. Cloud Fire Department, St. Cloud Police department and all other first responders who assisted with the devastating fire that broke out at The Press Bar early this morning. We are thankful that no one was in the building at the time of the fire. We’ve gained many great employees, friends and memories there over the years.
"We appreciate your thoughts and prayers."
No further information about the possible arson have been released.