St. Cloud school torn down after possible lightning fire - KMSP-TV

St. Cloud school torn down after possible lightning fire

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photo courtesy the St. Cloud Times photo courtesy the St. Cloud Times
ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KMSP) - A Saturday night lightning strike could be to blame for the fire that ultimately caused crews to tear down a school in St. Cloud, Minn.

The fire started around 11:40 p.m. Saturday at the nearly 95-year-old Roosevelt Early Childhood Center, located at 3015 Third Street North. Bryan Brown, the building and grounds supervisor for the district told the St. Cloud Times he believes lightning may have sparked the fire. Crews were still fighting the fire at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday, but by 11 a.m., the school was almost completely torn down.

Multiple departments including St. Cloud, Sartell, Sauk Rapids and Waite Park had been battling the blaze all night and expect to be on-scene all day. Firefighters were having a hard time extinguishing fire between the building's rubber roof and ceiling, St. Cloud Fire Chief Bill Mund said, and had to tear down what was left, otherwise it would have continued to smolder.

No one was injured physically, but the community is mourning what one former student called "the heart" of District 742.

"It's a really nice school. Good teachers, good programs -- it's kind of a shame," Becky Schlueter said. "I'm surprised. It must have hit just perfect for it to go up in flames."

Nearly 100 children were about to start summer school there on Tuesday, but the district will have to find a different place for them, Brown said. The school was home to the St. Cloud school district's welcome center, a screening center and several preschool classes.

While a lightning strike could be to blame, it's too early to confirm the official cause of the fire and the incident is currently under investigation, Mund said.
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