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Lietzau Taxidermy in Cosmos lost its roof as a result of a fire late Monday night. Furs and pelts also were damaged. (Tribune photo by TJ Jerke)

Fire damages Lietzau Taxidermy building in Cosmos, Minn.

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COSMOS -- A fire late Monday night caused damage to the roof of Lietzau Taxidermy in Cosmos.

Owner Chuck Lietzau said he woke up to a phone call around midnight and drove into town to witness the fire he thinks may be a combination of an overheated transformer and faulty wiring in the ceiling. No official conclusions have been made.

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"There seems to be a connection with the transformer and the fire," Lietzau said Tuesday. "With old wiring, you should expect things, but don't expect something like this."

The Meeker County Sheriff's Office was notified at 11:48 p.m. Monday and dispatched several fire departments.

Xcel Energy serves the Cosmos area, but when the Tribune reached Xcel spokeswoman Patti Nystuen Tuesday afternoon, she said she was away from the office and did not have access to any additional information.

The fire, the town's second in five months after the library caught fire in February, occurred hours after electric service was restored to the town Monday. Friday evening's storm caused widespread power outages in the state.

Lietzau, along with his wife, Twyla, and three sons, were pushing water from the firefighting efforst out of two large rooms by 11 a.m. Tuesday. The rooms, full of hides, pelts and various items, had at least four inches of water in them and took three hours to clean up, Lietzau said.

Water continued to trickle down through the roof Tuesday afternoon, causing many ceiling tiles to bow. Lietzau's sons were draining water through poked holes in the tiles.

By 3 p.m. Lietzau was starting a generator to keep the buffalo meat frozen in the downstairs freezers.

Paul Lietzau of Delano drove in to help his family with the fire and was helping start the generator.

As he walked into the building Tuesday afternoon he had only one simple statement, "it's definitely a mess," he said.

The Cosmos Fire and Police departments, Grove City Fire Department, Litchfield Fire Department, Lake Lillian Fire Department and Hutchinson Fire and Police Departments responded to the fire, according to the Meeker County Sheriff's Office dispatch log.

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