Rochester Fire Department investigating suspicious overnight fire

Rochester Fire Truck

ROCHESTER, Minn. – Authorities are investigating a suspicious fire at an old farmstead that was the site of an arson just a few months ago.

Around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, fire crews were called to 48th St. SW at 31st Ave. in Section 33 of Rochester Township. The farmstead had been abandoned for many years, but someone east of the farm noticed the fire through the woods and called police.

The barn roof had already collapsed by the time firefighters arrived and police reported that flames were visible from Highway 63.

Because no other property was threatened, crews allowed the fire to burn. According to a Fire Department news release, attempting to extinguish the fire would have required thousands of gallons of water with nothing to salvage. Crews patrolled to be sure the woods did not catch fire.

One fire truck that entered through the field drive couldn’t get back out because the ground was still wet from recent rains. Pulver’s Tow Service was called to pull it out.

Firefighters remained on scene for several hours until the blaze died down.

Investigators say the property owners made an effort to keep people and vehicles out after the last fire by posting the property and putting up cable fencing across the access roads. The fire a few months ago burned the farmhouse — this time it was the barn that appears to have been targeted.

The Rochester Fire Marshal’s Office was also on scene investigating.

A reward through the State Arson Investigator’s organization was posted after the last fire was deemed arson. Anyone with information on either fire can call the Arson Tipline at 1-800-723-2020 or submit a report online at http://www.mniaai.org/home/arson-hotline-submit-a-tip.

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