Skip to main content

Reward: Authorities say the central MN church fire wasn't an accident


Authorities say someone may have intentionally set a historic central Minnesota church on fire in March.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the State Fire Marshal are even offering a $7,500 reward to catch the person or people responsible.

The incident happened March 11 around 4:45 p.m. A deacon running errands discovered the fire at the Church of St. Mary in Melrose, the St. Cloud Times reported.

Initially, the fire was believed to be an accident. A church maintenance worker told the paper that the boiler room, electrical panels and the kitchen are located below the area where the fire originated.

But the Star Tribune says clues led investigators to believe otherwise. Authorities have not said what those clues are.

Days after the fire, damages to the 1898 church were estimated at $1 million. But the ATF says the "extensive damage" to the building's west side and other losses are valued closer to $5 million.

Anyone with information is asked to call the ATF hotline at 888-283-3473 or the Minnesota Arson hotline at 800-723-2020.

Callers may remain anonymous.

Next Up

Screen Shot 2021-10-28 at 12.20.52 PM

COVID-19 case rate drops in 75 of 87 Minnesota counties

Transmission levels are still high throughout Minnesota.


Man, 62, dies after his truck leaves road, hits tree

The Wisconsin man died after being airlifted to Regions Hospital.

pexels - beer buy fridge store liquor

Municipal liquor stores in 24 MN cities could be in jeopardy

These sites reported losses in two of the last three years, triggering a mandatory hearing.

Mats Zuccarello

2 Minnesota Wild players test positive for COVID-19

Both players will be unavailable Thursday night when the Wild face the expansion Kraken.

Target deals weekly ad - 10.31.2021

Target reveals first Black Friday deals, available next week

There are some steep discounts to be had, even though Black Friday is nearly a month away.

Screen Shot 2021-10-28 at 10.10.36 AM

'Dancing with the Stars: Live!' coming to Minnesota in February

The show's professional dancers will be at Mystic Lake.

Train derailment Fairmont screengrab

WATCH: Video shows terrifying moment train derails in Fairmont

A large chunk of the track appears to come off just before the derailment.


Grocery store beer sales? MN House hears nearly 30 proposals to update liquor laws

Calls to change the state's liquor laws grew louder during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Screen Shot 2021-10-28 at 7.57.25 AM

3 people found dead inside home in Farmington

Police were conducting a welfare check when they found three people dead inside the home.

Screen Shot 2021-10-28 at 7.26.58 AM

Headstones pushed over, smashed by vandals at cemetery in Alexandria

Police have released images of a vehicle they believe is connected to the case.


Puppies abandoned at Chaska golf course

It's illegal to abandon animals in Minnesota.


Apartment fire in St. Anthony appears to be arson, authorities say

The Friday morning blaze displaced a number of residents, including a mom and her small child.