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Foul Play Suspected in Pokegama Sanatorium Fire

Update (1/31/20):

The Pine County Sheriff's Office has officially determined that arson is the cause of the fire at the Pokegama Lake sanatorium. Anyone with information relating to this case is asked to contact the sheriff's office at 320-629-8380 or the Arson Hotline at 1-800-723-2020. The Minnesota Arson Reward Project of the IAAI may offer a reward of up to $2500 for information leading to the identification of persons responsible for this fire.

Original Story:

Foul play is believed after a fire was reported in the old sanatorium on Pokegama Lake Road near Pine City.

The fire was reported to Pine County Dispatch at 5:35 a.m. Tuesday, January 28. A responding fireman reported finding flames coming out of a window on the first level of the building, and the fire was quickly contained within minutes of the Pine City Fire Department arriving on the scene.

According to the Sheriff's Office, indications point to the fire being intentionally set as a pile of garbage and debris was set on fire in one of the rooms. The building was searched by responders, but no one was located inside.

The Pokegama Lake Sanitorium was opened in 1905 to treat tuberculosis patients. The property changed hands and served many functions until it was ultimately shut down in 1986, where it has sat derelict ever since.

Photo taken from Pine City Community Facebook page courtesy of Jessie Hamblin.

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