Fire at North Dakota Historic Church Deemed Suspicious

June 22, 2022

A fire last week at one of southeastern North Dakota’s oldest churches is being investigated as “suspicious,” authorities said.

The blaze at Maple Sheyenne Lutheran Church near Harwood was reported about 8 a.m. June 17 by a passing motorist who saw smoke coming out of the windows.

West Fargo Rural Fire Chief Steve Baron, who was first on the scene, said there was smoke inside the historic church and a propane tank outside the building.

Cass County Sheriff Jesse Jahner said an initial investigation shows “some things that are suspicious.” State and federal agents have joined in the probe.

Church board member Keith Munson, whose family has been part of the congregation for five generations, said “it’s a mess in there” but the fire doors closed off the main sanctuary from any serious damage. Pastor Corey Lange said Sunday services this weekend might be held outside.

Munson said the church, which is located about 10 miles northwest of downtown Fargo, was founded about 150 years ago.

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