Arsonist burns down North Branch Animal Hospital

9:26 PM, Nov 5, 2012   |    comments
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By Dave Berggren

North Branch, MN (KARE11/CNN) - Police in one Minnesota community are asking for the public's help after someone intentionally set fire to a veterinary hospital on Sunday.

Investigators believe it may be the work of a serial arsonist.

Clean up crews came to scoop up and haul away torched pieces of the North Branch Animal Hospital building.

"The bulk of the damage is done in the roof," said Al Kemplin, the owner of the animal hospital.

Kemplin is wondering why anyone would set the place on fire.

"Appears to be just a random event. You know, I was just the next in line, I guess," he said.

Firefighters had to pull five dogs and a cat from the building.

Officials say it could have been much worse. What is worse is the animal hospital was not the only place targeted. Next door at the Budget Host Inn, more evidence of arson.

A few blocks away at a taekwondo studio, the same thing.

"This is our livelihood. This is something that we take personal. It's something that could have been crushing," said Heath Fonnest with North Branch Taekwondo.

North Branch police say this arsonist is getting bolder. Within the last few days six dumpsters have been set on fire, and now this.

"He's escalating, very quickly. And I'm afraid if we don't catch him lives are in danger," said Sgt. Rick Sapp.

A $2,500 reward is being offered to anyone with information.


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