An early-morning fire heavily damaged The Refuge building in the Detroit Lakes industrial park Saturday.
No one was hurt in the fire. The building was apparently unoccupied at the time, although Refuge Director Mel Manning said someone broke into the building Saturday night. A window on the south side of the building had been broken to gain access, he said.
An electric crockpot that didn't belong there was found turned on in the coffee shop area, he said Saturday afternoon as he surveyed the damage.
Several inches of water was on the floor in places, the building smelled of acrid smoke, and the coffee shop area was in ruins.
The Refuge Christian Outreach Center in Detroit Lakes provides the community with food, ministry and counseling services.
Asked what would happen now, Manning said simply: "We get to work."
The cleanup is expected to take weeks, he said.
The fire was in the front part of the building, closest to Eighth Street, in the coffee shop and kitchen area, said Detroit Lakes Fire Chief Scott Flynn.
A passerby called 911 to report the fire just after 5:30 a.m., after seeing smoke coming from the building.
"There was quite a bit of smoke, water and fire damage in the building," Flynn said. "Heavy damage in the building."
A State Fire Marshal's Office investigator was on the scene Saturday morning, Flynn said, and Manning said local law enforcement is also investigating the break-in. The Refuge coffee shop area had been closed for several days, as Manning and his wife were on a trip to the Duluth area, he said.
Audubon and Frazee firefighters and Detroit Lakes police officers all assisted at the scene.