An 18-year-old female has been taken into custody for allegedly starting a fire in a building located on First Street Southeast near the old Winnebago school.
According to a Winnebago police press release, Winnebago and Blue Earth fire departments responded to a call of a fire around 4:21 a.m. Thursday approximately 100 yards east of the Municipal Center Building.
When fire crews arrived on the scene, they discovered a two-stall garage engulfed in flames. The building, owned by Mayor Scott Robertson, was totally destroyed.
“Since I live in town and nearby, I was there in minutes,” says Faribault County Chief Deputy Scott Adams. “Originally, it was thought that City Hall may be on fire.”
Adams says he, Sheriff Mike Gormley, deputy Mark Purvis, Police Chief Eric Olson and officer Jacob Pettit were able to view local surveillance video.
“It took us about 10 minutes to identify the suspect,” says Adams. “We went to her rural Blue Earth residence, brought her in to interview and then arrested her.”
The suspect, Connie Bergeron of Blue Earth, was arrested around 9:42 a.m., according to the press release. She is currently being held in the Faribault County Jail and is awaiting arraignment for a felony-level negligent fire charge.
Adams says Blue Earth firefighters used their aerial truck to ensure that embers from the blaze were not a threat to the school building.
Firefighters remained on the scene until nearly 6 a.m. and no injuries were reported.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office is also assisting with the on-going investigation.