Fire broke out at an Eagan landmark early Sunday morning, and authorities say that the blaze may have been the work of an arsonist.
The two-alarm fire did extensive damage to the city’s historic Town Hall, which was built in 1914. Neighbor Jane Peterson's home shares a lot line with the town hall, which sits at the corner of Pilot Knob and Wescott Road. She said that the family's dogs started barking around 4:30 in the morning.
"Usually when I tell them to quit, they stop, but they kept barking. Then I looked out the window and I saw fire all along the roofline," Peterson told Eagan Patch. "It looked kind of like a cross."
According to the city, about 40 firefighters from four different stations were called to the scene. Peterson estimated that it took about two hours to put the fire out.
No one was hurt, but the roof and one side of the building sustained significant damage. In recent years, the hall has been used as a museum and repository for the Eagan Historical Society. Deputy Fire Chief Pat DiIoia of the Eagan Fire Department told KSTP that it will be possible to restore the building. However, invaluable artifacts were lost in the blaze, in spite of firefighters' efforts to save as much as possible.
“We are so grateful for what firefighters were able to remove,” Eagan Historical Society vice-chair Kim Hazel said in a release from the city. “We’ve lost original photos and news clippings, some old town maps and original glass in the windows dating to 1914. These things are irreplaceable.”
The fire remains under investigation. The city has offered a $2,500 reward to anyone with information which may lead to an arrest. Those who may have pertinent information are encouraged to call the state Arson Hotline at 1-800-723-2020, the Eagan Fire Department, or the Eagan Police Tip Line at 651-675-5799.