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Atwater, Minn., fire deemed arson: Reward offered

ATWATER-- Investigators announced today a fire that destroyed three buildings and four businesses in February in downtown Atwater was deliberately set.

A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information leading to the arrest of the person or persons responsible for the arson, according to Special Agent Bernard Zapor, from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives in St. Paul.

On Feb. 28, at approximately 12:43 a.m., a fire was reported at Phat Pheasant Pasta and Brew located on Atlantic Avenue.

The fire quickly spread to two adjacent businesses -- Holm Brothers Plumbing and Heating, which also housed the Sticker Boy business, and Peterson Hardware.

The loss value of the businesses is estimated at approximately $2 million.

The Atwater Volunteer Fire Department responded to the scene and subsequently suppressed the large structure fire.

ATF, Minnesota State Fire Marshal Division, Atwater Police Department and the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office conducted a fire scene examination and determined the fire was deliberately set.

Investigators are seeking the public's help in solving this crime and are hopeful that the reward will provide additional leads in this investigation.

Anyone having information about the arson should call the following 24-hour anonymous hotline:

ATF Fire Hotline: 888-ATF-FIRE or 888-283-3473.

Callers may also provide information anonymously by contacting the following offices: ATF-St. Paul IV Field Office at 651-726-0260; Fire Marshal's Arson Reward Project at 800-723-2020; or Willmar Crime Stoppers at 320-235-3640.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for 35 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750