3 fires set at former Dayton home in south Minneapolis

  • Updated: July 5, 2011 - 10:33 PM

Gas can, other evidence seized at scene of blaze that may have meant to target Gov. Mark Dayton.

An arson early Saturday at a house in south Minneapolis once owned by Gov. Mark Dayton was actually three fires, with one of them at the rear door to the house and another targeting a spigot and garden hose on the side of the house. A third fire, which like the first two apparently was fueled with gasoline or lighter fluid, targeted a porch on the rear of the house.

Dayton last lived in the home near Lake Harriet about 20 years ago, but Minneapolis police said they were investigating the possibility that someone upset over last week's shutdown of the state government set the fires in retaliation.

The husband and wife who now live there, and who asked that their names not be publicized, were home at the time of the fire. The husband heard the whoosh of flames on the rear wall at 2 a.m. Saturday and ran outside to find his backyard lit up like it was daytime. His wife called the fire department while he extinguished the blazes using a garden hose.

Whoever set the fires left behind gas cans and other evidence now in the hands of police. The homeowners have been upset and angry since discovering the fires, said the husband. "As far as I'm concerned it's attempted murder," he said.

MATT MCKINNEY

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