Feds Called in to Probe Press Bar Fire
ST. CLOUD -- Special agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives have teamed up with local and state officials to figure out the cause of the fire that completely destroyed the Press Bar and Parlor early Monday morning.
Nearly 25 members of the bureau's National Response Team arrived in St. Cloud Friday at the request of the St. Cloud Fire Department and the ATF's St. Paul Field Division, according to a news release.
"ATF's involvement in this investigation is strictly as a support role," said Special Agent in Charge William Terry Henderson of the ATF's Saint Paul Field Division. "This was a large fire and the extra personnel will help move this investigation along more quickly."
"We approach each investigation with a goal to uncover the origin and cause of each fire," he added "Once we've collectively made a determination, we will share the information."
During the investigation, the 10 block of 5th Avenue South will be closed to drivers, and pedestrians will have limited access to the south end of the block, according to St. Cloud Fire Chief Dean Wrobbel.
There's no estimation on how long the investigation will take, or how long the street closure will be necessary.
The NRT's three teams, spread throughout the United States, can respond in 24-hours to help state and local officials investigate scenes of significant explosions and arson incidents, according to the release. Teams of experts work alongside state and local officers to reconstruct scenes, identify fire origins, conduct interviews and sift through debris for evidence.
St. Cloud firefighters arrived at on scene of the Press Bar and Parlor at 502 West St. Germain Street in downtown St. Cloud Monday around 2:40 a.m.
By the afternoon, the whole building had been leveled, resulting in over $1 million in damages.
The Press Bar was one of the most historic bars in St. Cloud, dating back to 1942.