Skip to main content

Fire does roughly $1M of damage to historic central Minnesota church

  • Author:
  • Updated:

The community is rallying around a church following a fire that did an estimated $1 million of damage to the historic building.

A deacon running errands discovered the fire at the Church of St. Mary in Melrose around 4:45 p.m. Friday, the St. Cloud Times reports. No one was injured in the fire.

It looks as if the fire started near the sacristy, the paper says. Church maintenance worker Allan Wiechmann told the St. Cloud Times the boiler room, electrical panels and the kitchen are located below the area where the fire originated.

Damage to the church, built in 1898, is estimated at $1 million. Father Marvin Enneking says it's hard to tell what all has been affected by the heat of the fire, but the fire itself "didn't go much beyond the old, original altar," according to The Visitor, a publication put out by the Diocese of St. Cloud.

With just a few weeks until Easter, the Church of St. Mary will be holding Masses at St. John's Church in Meire Grove, the church's website says.

“People look at this [building] as the church, but in reality, we are the church,” parishioner Bob Leukam told The Visitor. “The community will get stronger. The community will come together and make this work. It just takes time and a lot of prayer.”

The cause of the fire is being investigated by the state Fire Marshal's office. Federal agents will also be contacted, which is standard procedure when there's a fire at a religious structure, FOX 9 notes.

Next Up

Target store

Target gives first look at some of its Deal Days discounts

The Minneapolis retailer is holding its Deal Days event earlier than ever, in an attempt to drive sales after a turbulent year.

Screen Shot 2022-10-03 at 11.03.12 AM

Man dies after crashing truck into western Wisconsin lake

The victim was unable to make it to shore despite being able to get out of his truck.

ATV, all-terrain vehicle

Sheriff: Man who didn't return to campsite died in ATV crash

It happened at the Foothills State Forest and Spider Lake ATV Recreation Area

Richard Liu, aka Liu Qiangdong

Chinese billionaire settles lawsuit over alleged rape in Minneapolis

The tech billionaire was accused of sexually assaulting a University of Minnesota student in 2018.

US Navy Flickr - COVID hospital PPE nurse

Frontline worker payments: Over a million Minnesotans to get $487.45

Gov. Tim Walz says the payments will start going out on Wednesday.


Ed Sheeran to bring North America stadium tour to Minneapolis

It's the second show announced for the Vikings stadium in 2023.

Kim Crockett

GOP candidate Kim Crockett won't commit to accepting election result

Crockett has been a proponent of conspiracy theories regarding the 2020 presidential election.

Screen Shot 2022-10-01 at 9.41.39 AM

Charges: Man carjacked father, daughter as they loaded groceries outside Cub

The father grappled with the suspect after he had pointed a gun at his daughter.

Screen Shot 2022-10-02 at 8.25.27 PM

Pilot, brother and sister killed when plane crashed into house are ID'd

The plane crashed into a house in Hermantown, Minnesota.

Screen Shot 2022-10-02 at 7.18.52 PM

Rolled semi, livestock on freeway interchange in Woodbury

Traffic cameras showed what appeared to be hogs on the side of the road.

Eric Reinbold

Reinbold guilty of murdering wife with 'particular cruelty'

Eric Reinbold, 46, was convicted of two counts of murder in the second degree in Pennington County Friday.

police tape

Armed assault suspect arrested after standoff in Waite Park

The standoff ended early Saturday when officer obtained a warrant for the home.


Central Minnesota struggles with loss of historic flour mill

Facebook and Twitter have become places for some in central Minnesota to share their thoughts after a massive fire destroyed the Swany White flour mill last Tuesday. The St. Cloud Times reports the Freeport mill was family-owned and operated for more than 100 years. The mill won't be rebuilt, but the family might continue some of the Swany White products.

25 historic sites in Minnesota compete for $1M

The public can vote for their favorite historic places -- like the Basilica, Ft. Snelling and the State Fair Grandstand -- on Facebook through next month. The winner will be awarded $1 million in grants from the Partners in Preservation.

Investigators: Walker Church fire accidental

The fire that destroyed the Walker Community United Methodist Church in south Minneapolis on May 27 was officially listed as “accidental” Tuesday. The most probable cause was lightning, an investigator wrote in a supplemental report obtained by the Star Tribune.