Arson Suspected in Fire at Old Lake Park High School Site
Carol McCarthy | Mar 26, 2018 AT 10:39 am
LAKE PARK, MN--Three male teens are in custody following a fire at the old high school site in Lake Park Saturday morning. According to Lake Park Police Chief Brady Burnside Becker County Sheriff's Dispatch received a call just after 11:15am from someone passing by the former Lake Park Audubon High School which is currently unoccupied. The caller reported an open door to the gymnasium and the building full of smoke. Burnside says fire departments from Lake Park, Audubon, and Hawley responded and found several active fires in the gymnasium. The fires were quickly extinguished, and crews spend several hours on scene checking for hot spots and clearing the building of smoke. The police chief says the Minnesota State Fire Marshal was notified to assist with the investigation of the fire. The fire is tentatively being ruled an arson due to the multiple areas and nature of the fire. Burnside says later Saturday evening, Lake Park Police Department received a call from a citizen who had information about the fire. That information prompted officers to interview a 13 year old male from Audubon, MN and two 14 year old males from Lake Park. He says all three made admissions to lighting fires in the gymnasium as well to some prior break ins and vandalism to the building. Reports have been forwarded to the Becker County Attorney’s Office for charges.Chief Burnside says while damage estimates to the building are unavailable at this time, there was no structural damage to the building which is actually a construction zone. The building is owned by Bob Bristlin and Son's Construction and is under construction for development into housing units. The investigation into the fire and past vandalism is active. Anyone with information about the fire or prior damage to the building are asked to contact the Lake Park Police Department at 218-238-6922.